Update: Virginia Beach missing mom and tots went to ‘Eco village’ in North Carolina

A suspicious housefire is becoming a focus of the investigation

The Virginia Beach mother who frightened her friends and family when she disappeared with her two young children last weekend had reportedly gone to an “Eco village community” in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

Monica Lamping, 29, had last been heard from on Saturday night in a text message exchange with a friend. She had not mentioned any plans to go away. Early Sunday morning, firefighters responded to a blaze at her home; Lamping, her children, and another female tenant at the house were not there at the time. Friends and family were unable to reach her, and reported that calls to her cell phone were going directly to voicemail. Lamping’s ex-husband and father of her elder son was not informed of any travel plans, and their son did not report to school on Monday.

READ more: Mom and 2 kids missing under ‘suspicious circumstances’ after house fire

Investigators later learned that Lamping had driven in the direction of North Carolina in the early hours of Sunday morning, when a car with tags that matched her license plate number was seen traveling through the Downtown Tunnel, an hour and a half before firefighters responded to the blaze at her home. She and her children were found and confirmed safe on Tuesday.

Monica’s ex-husband, Kevin Lamping, told the Virginian-Pilot that he picked up his son, Kai, at Earthaven Eco-Village this week, and said he only spoke with his ex-wife briefly.

“I don’t want to say too much right now,” Mr. Lamping told the newspaper. “There are a lot of details that the detectives and the Fire Department will have to sort through.”

A dog and a cat died in the housefire, and two cats survived. Virginia Beach fire investigators said in a news release that the fire appeared to have started in the vicinity of a space heater. “Whether or not the fire was intentionally set is still undetermined,” the news release said.

According to Earthaven’s website, members must “Contribute 1,500 hours (or the monetary equivalent) in the first ten years of membership, with fifty hours a year minimum.” Residential sites at the village cost between $10,500 and $21,000.

According to the Virginian-Pilot, Lamping’s roommate moved in a few months ago to help with expenses.


Photo:Virginia Beach Police