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Family: Missing mother, children found at "eco-village" in North Carolina

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- The stepmother of one of Monica Lamping's children said Thursday that the Virginia Beach mother and her children were found at an "eco-village" in North Carolina.

<p>Monica Lamping and her two children vanished over the weekend.</p>

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- The stepmother of one of Monica Lamping's children said Thursday that the Virginia Beach mother and her children were found at an "eco-village" in North Carolina.

Police reported Wednesday that Lamping and her children who had been missing since the weekend had been found safe.

29-year-old Monica Lamping, her 7-year-old son, Kai and her 9-month-old daughter, Oria, had last been seen Saturday evening.

Just after 3 a.m. Sunday, there was a fire at Lamping's home in the 4900 block of Sullivan Boulevard. The fire caused heavy damage to the house. Fire officials said no one was home at the time.

Lamping and her children were reported missing later that day.

Virginia Beach Master Police Officer Linda Kuehn said Monday night that the status of the case had been updated to endangered "under suspicious circumstances" because they still were missing.

As of Tuesday, investigators were attempting to identify a man named Chad. Family and friends told 13News Now that Lamping had been on a date with him.

Investigators also confirmed that cameras captured Lamping's vehicle going westbound through the Downtown Tunnel at about 2 a.m. Sunday. The vehicle, a 2002 green Jeep Grand Cherokee with Virginia tag number XPU-6357, has not been seen since.

Kevin Lamping, the father of one of Monica's children, told 13News Now on Wednesday that she and the children were found somewhere in North Carolina. Police reported they left on their own free will.

After speaking with 13News Now, Kevin left for North Carolina, where he later reunited with his son.

Exclusive Video: Kevin Lamping talks with 13News Now after Monica Lamping, children found safe

The Bogart family issued the following statement on Thursday morning:

The Bogart family is grateful for the overwhelming support of law enforcement, our family, friends and wonderful community. We are so thankful our family members were found alive and safe.

We understand there are unanswered questions. The answers as they come, may not be shared; not as a means to cover anything, but in order to heal. We do know Monica was unaware of the fire or the search, and that she traveled at night to ensure the children would be asleep.

We ask that you respect our privacy as our family comes together. Please keep all of those involved in positive thoughts and prayers.

Our daughter, Monica, and our grandchildren Kai and Oria, will return to the community soon.

Fire department spokesman Art Kohn said investigators believe the fire started in the vicinity of a space heater in an upstairs bedroom. Whether or not the fire was intentionally set is still undetermined and the investigation continues.

Below is a timeline of events we've gathered from police and family members that happened before and after Ms. Lamping's disappearance:

  • According to mother, Sheila Bogart
    • Saturday, Jan. 21 at 3:20 p.m. -- Monica dropped off children at best friend, Anne's house.
    • Saturday, Jan. 21 at 5:15 p.m. -- Monica picked up kids from Anne's house
    • Saturday, Jan. 21 from 6:20 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. -- Traded text messages back and forth with Anne
  • According to Kevin Lamping, Monica's ex-husband:
    • Sunday, Jan. 22 at 2 a.m. -- He heard from police that they got images of Monica's car going through Portsmouth Downtown Tunnel westbound.
  • According to Virginia Beach Fire Department:
    • Sunday, Jan. 22 at 3:30 a.m. -- Authorities reported smoke and flames coming through the roof on the right side of Monica Lamping's home.
    • Sunday, Jan. 22 at 4 a.m. -- The fire was reported as under control.
    • Sunday, Jan. 22 at 5:17 a.m. -- Fire contained.

PHOTOS: Mother, 2 children missing after Virginia Beach house fire

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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