Woman released in hoax Amber Alert case
Posted September 11, 2009 12:17 p.m. EDT
Updated September 11, 2009 7:04 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — A Four Oaks woman who prompted a massive search and a statewide Amber Alert last year after reporting a boy missing from a Smithfield flea market appeared in court Friday to face federal charges in the incident.
Rosnah Hassan Thomason told authorities 3-year-old Siraj Munir "Roji" Davenport disappeared from Brightleaf Flea Market, on U.S. Highway 301 South in Smithfield, on May 18, 2008, while she was loading groceries in her car.
Smithfield police, Johnston County deputies and the FBI searched for the boy on the ground and in a helicopter for three days before determining he hadn't been abducted and that the report of his disappearance was false.
Thomason was charged with knowingly and willfully making materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statements to law enforcement, according to a criminal complaint filed Sept. 4 in U.S. District Court.
On Friday, she waived her right to a probable cause hearing and was released into the custody of a co-worker who lives in Spring Lake. She is prohibited from contacting the boy and must get permission from federal probation officials to go outside of Harnett and Cumberland counties.
Neither Thomason nor her attorneys would comment after the hearing.
Thomason's brother, Kamarudin Hassan, told WRAL News on Friday that he is actually the father of the boy, now 6. The boy's real name is Mohammad Haziq Hassan, his father said.
Hassan, who lives in Singapore, said he and his son visited the U.S. in September 2007, and Thomason convinced him to allow the boy to stay on with her longer. When he returned home, however, his sister cut off communication, he said, and he went for months without speaking to his son.
"I just couldn't believe she, as my very sibling, would do such a thing," Hassan said in a telephone interview. "I keep on calling her. I e-mail her. I want to speak to my son. My wife was crying and said, 'What happened to our son? How come Rosie's done this to us?'"
During that period, Thomason started calling the boy "Roji Davenport" and insisted he refer to her and her boyfriend as his mother and father, Hassan said.
Only when Hassan threatened to involve the authorities did she return the boy, he said.
The federal complaint states that Thomason and the child had tickets to fly on May 17, 2008, from Raleigh-Durham International Airport to Atlanta and then Minneapolis-St. Paul. Travel records show Thomason then returned the same day to RDU without the child.
Authorities said they found an Internet printout in Thomason’s possession explaining how to report a missing child.
Further investigation showed Thomason has a teenage son with the same first and middle names as the child she reported missing. The teen’s birthday was also the same as the child – Aug. 23.
Thomason was unable to provide proof to investigators of the boy's birth and that she was his mother. Eric Thomason, the father of the teen and Thomason’s ex-husband, confirmed to authorities that the boy was Hassan's son.
"I just don't understand why she changed my son's name, my son's birth date. What's the purpose? What does she gain from this? I don't know," Hassan said.
According to the federal complaint, Thomason admitted the day after the Amber Alert was issued that she had lied to law enforcement authorities. She claimed her brother had forced her to give him the child and that she would be able to reclaim the boy when she signed over part of her inheritance.
That same day, border crossing information determined that Hassan and the boy were on a flight that would be stopping in Japan. FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents met and interviewed Hassan in Japan and determined that his and the boy's passport information were legitimate.