Local News

Woman pleads guilty in hoax Amber Alert

Posted February 8, 2010 12:29 p.m. EST
Updated February 8, 2010 2:17 p.m. EST

— A woman who initiated a fake Amber Alert in Smithfield almost two years ago pleaded guilty Monday to a federal charge of making a false statement.

Rosnah Hassan Thomason, 43, of Four Oaks, told authorities that 3-year-old Siraj Munir "Roji" Davenport disappeared from Brightleaf Flea Market, on U.S. Highway 301 South in Smithfield, on May 18, 2008.

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's brother, Kamarudin Hassan, told WRAL News in September 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.

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.

Authorities said they found an Internet printout in Thomason’s possession explaining how to report a missing child.

Thomason is scheduled to be sentenced on May 17, when she faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

“The emergency reporting system needs to be taken seriously. It is for bona fide emergency situations that require medical treatment or police assistance, so that services can be dispatched quickly to those in need of help," U.S. Attorney George Holding said in a statement. "When a person reports a false emergency it takes from those in need valuable manpower and precious time while using resources already stretched tight.”