The search for Monica Lamping took a strange turn on Tuesday after police in Virginia said they spotted the missing mother’s Jeep driving after a fire in the family’s home that led to her disappearance — but still no sign of the missing family.
Lamping and her two children went missing sometime on early Sunday after the fire in the family’s home, leaving no clues to her whereabouts. Lamping’s family also said they have not heard from Monica since the day before of the fire, the Virginian-Pilot reported.
Police said they responded to the family’s home in the early morning hours of Sunday for a report of a fire. They found a dog and a cat dead in the fire, but Monica and her two children were nowhere to be seen.
As the Virginian-Pilot reported, Monica Lamping was last seen a few hours before that.
“Lamping had been on a date Saturday afternoon, according to her friend, Anne Shell, who cared for Lamping’s children while she was gone. Lamping went to pick up her two kids from Shell’s house around 5 p.m. and hung out there for about a half hour.”
“Shell and Lamping exchanged text messages that night, with the last one being sent by Lamping at about 10:30 p.m., Shell said.”
Police have now said that they spotted Monica Lamping’s Jeep driving through the Downtown Tunnel at close to 2 a.m. on Sunday, where the car’s license plates were caught on camera. They did not say which way the car was traveling or who was inside.
— Marielena Balouris (@Marielena_TV) January 24, 2017
Authorities believe that Monica Lamping and her children could be in danger given the strange circumstances of her disappearance. But they have said there are no signs of foul play, and it is not yet conclusive whether the fire was intentionally set.
Police identified a person named Chad who they are searching out, but it’s not known who this person might be or his connection to Monica Lamping.
The search for Monica Lamping has now expanded to include private investigators hired by Lamping’s family, WAVY reported.
Monica’s ex-husband, Kevin Lamping, said he was not initially too worried after she fell out of contact, thinking that her phone may have died. But when she did not bring their son to school on Monday morning, he grew fearful.
“I have every reason to believe that she would do whatever it would take to get him to school on time,” he said (via WAVY).
Kevin Lamping added that her disappearance just after the fire raises even more fears.
“You look at the timing of everything and its just very suspicious,” said Kevin Lamping.
“With every hour that passes, that feeling of helplessness certainly grows, and a feeling of despair is also there,” he added.
Family members have now begun their own search efforts for Monica Lamping, including distributing flyers and information about Monica and her two children.
Friends have also reached out on social media, including messages meant for Monica.
— Moira Lamping (@MoiraLamping) January 24, 2017
“I hope that she’s safe and just know that we love her. I just want her to come home safe,” Shell said.
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of missing mother Monica Lamping is asked to call the Virginia Beach Police Department Missing Persons Department at 757-385-4101 or the Virginia Beach Police Emergency Communications at 757-385-5000. They are also seeking information about the man named Chad and the whereabouts of Monica’s car — a dark green Jeep Cherokee with the license plate number is XPU-6357.
[Featured Image by Larry W. Smith/Getty Images]