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Sheriff’s deputies arrest Leland woman for allegedly abducting an infant

A Leland woman has been arrested for abducting an infant from the child’s grandmother in Holly...
A Leland woman has been arrested for abducting an infant from the child’s grandmother in Holly Ridge on January 11, 2021.(Onslow County Sheriff's Office)
Updated: Mar. 15, 2021 at 4:21 PM EDT
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - A Leland woman has been arrested for abducting an infant from the child’s grandmother in Holly Ridge on January 11, 2021.

The infant was taken by 60-year-old Melanie Lynne Keene, a North Carolina licensed private investigator who was hired by an attorney representing a couple that was trying to gain custody of the child.

The ex-parte hearing for temporary emergency custody was due to take place January 12, 2021.

After taking custody of the infant, Keene transported the child to the couple and instructed the couple not to answer phones or speak to law enforcement.

Keene was arrested March 11, 2021 and charged with the following:

  • Felony abduction of children
  • Felonious restraint
  • Felony obstructing justice
  • Misdemeanor resisting public officer

She was booked into the Brunswick County Detention Center under a $1,000 secured bond.

Keene’s private investigator license with the NC Private Protective Services Board was summarily suspended March 15. The suspension is effective immediately and she may no longer work as a private investigator until the suspension is lifted.

This is an ongoing investigation and additional arrests are possible. Anyone with information about this incident may contact Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, or Lt. B. Foy at (910) 455-3113, or Crime Stoppers at (910) 938-3273.

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