Tearful Virginia Beach mother faces judge over arson charge

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Monica Claire Lamping, 30, has been charged with arson in connection to a Jan. 22 fire that destroyed a home and killed two animals. She was arraigned in Virginia Beach General District Court on April 4, 2017.
Monica Claire Lamping, 30, has been charged with arson in connection to a Jan. 22 fire that destroyed a home and killed two animals. She was arraigned in Virginia Beach General District Court on April 4, 2017. (Adrienne Mayfield/Southside Daily)

VIRGINIA BEACH — Monica Claire Lamping, a 30-year-old mother who disappeared with her children hours after her Virginia Beach home burned down in January, was arraigned in court on Tuesday.

Lamping was in tears when Virginia Beach General District Court Judge Elizabeth Hodges read the charge against her: arson of an occupied dwelling.

The felony charge is punishable with a sentence of five years to life in prison.

A magistrate denied Lamping bond on Monday, but a bail hearing has been scheduled for her case on Wednesday.

Lamping is currently being held at the Virginia Beach City Jail. Other charges are pending against her.

The house she was renting, which was located at 4932 Sullivan Blvd., caught fire around 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 22, claiming the lives of two pets owned by Lamping’s roommate, Courtney Bullock.

The 9-month-old husky, Nevada, and 3-year-old cat, Boss, died of smoke inhalation.

Lamping, her 7-year-old son, Kai, and 9-month-old daughter, Oria, were reported missing hours later. A preliminary police investigation showed her car traveling through the Portsmouth Downtown tunnel in the early hours of Jan. 22.

Monica Lamping and her children were found safe on Jan. 25 at a North Carolina “off-the-grid” commune, Bullock said.

On Jan. 26, the Virginia Beach Fire Department determined that a space heater caused the fire. VBFD spokesperson Art Kohn said that an investigation has ruled out all accidental causes for the fire.

As a result of her disappearance, a court gave full custody of Kai to father, Kevin Lamping.

“My wife and I have been granted permanent custody of Kai,” Kevin Lamping said in a Facebook message with a Southside Daily reporter.

“Life has been great and Kai had adjusted amazingly! His welfare has always been our top concern,” he said.

Mayfield can be reached at adrienne.m@southsidedaily.com.

Related coverage:

Woman who went missing after Virginia Beach fire charged with arson

‘Someone loved them’: Virginia Beach woman remembers pets killed in fire

Virginia Beach police: Monica Lamping, children found safe

Space heater determined as cause of Sullivan Boulevard fire, officials say

‘With every day that passes it hurts a little more,’ ex-husband says of missing Virginia Beach mom, children

Police: Virginia Beach woman and her children missing hours after house catches on fire

Two pets die in Virginia Beach house fire on Sunday, resident missing

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Adrienne Mayfield is an award-winning, multi-media journalist hailing from Clermont, Fla. She moved to Lynchburg, Va. on a whim when she was 19, and worked her way to Hampton Roads in 2013. Adrienne is passionate about telling people stories via covering public safety and the judicial system. She isn’t afraid to take a heads-on approach to covering crime, including knocking on doors to get the details police aren’t sharing. Adrienne is a 2014 Old Dominion University graduate who still lives within walking distance of the college. You may see her cruising around Downtown Norfolk on her bike, enjoying a sandwich from Grilled Cheese Bistro or playing fetch with her dog, Greta, at the Colonial Place dog park.