A Virginian woman is facing nine felony charges after duping a couple into believing that she was pregnant and they could adopt her baby.
A grand jury in Virginia returned a nine-count indictment against Elizabeth Jones, 34, on March 7, for using false pretense to convince a Californian couple, Matt and Laura Trayte, to buy baby clothes, meals, and professional photos in anticipation for the adoption. The offenses listed on the indictment include larceny and obtaining by false pretense for nine transactions less than $500, reported WCYB.com.
Family and Friends, This is a very condensed version of the psychological attack that has been waged on us the past few…
“We’ve spent and put every penny into it,” Laura Trayte told the news station. “Emotionally and financially invested completely to complete our family.”
Laura said she was thankful toward the Commonwealth Attorney Chuck Slemp and police investigators, who were initially reluctant to pursue charges.
“They went from having nothing to being able to charge her with nine felony counts. Nothing would have happened without our advocacy. Just like we all have to be our own health advocates, we all have to be our own justice advocates,” she told The Mercury News.
Jones, who never took any money from the Trayte family, said in a previous interview in January that didn’t think what she did was criminally wrong. She said, “Morally? Yes. But I’ve never seen someone be charged with something morally.”
But she said that she was sorry for what has done. “If I could take it back … I absolutely would,” Jones said in January.
The case started in 2018 when the Trayte family posted on social media that they were looking to adopt a baby. The couple has a son conceived through IVF, but they were unsuccessful with having a second child and were seeking to adopt a child to complete their family, according to their website.
Jones contacted the couple through Facebook and said she was willing to give up her baby girl, who was supposedly due in November last year.
For several months, the Trayte family and Jones exchanged text messages and ultrasound photos. Jones also gifted the family a stuffed unicorn. Laura also traveled to Virginia to meet with Jones where they took photos and had dinner together.
In November, Trayte’s family of three traveled to Virginia in anticipation for child’s birth. On the day, Jones told the family she was having the baby on the side of the road and Laura tried coaching her through labor on the phone, while they were driving to the hospital to meet her, reported The Mercury News.
When they got to the hospital, Jones had already arrived but there was no baby. Instead, she was complaining about back pain.
“We thought Thursday was going to be one of the happiest days of our lives and we would get to meet our daughter. Instead, it was one of the worst. I went from coaching her through labor on the phone as we drove to the hospital to meet her to standing in the NICU surrounded by nurses waiting for a baby that would never come,” the Trayte family wrote on their Facebook post back in December last year.
My family has been brutally attacked. Not in a physical way, mind you, but in a very real and deep psychological way….
“We have been building a relationship on a lie for months. Although we did not give her any money, we gave her our hearts and we’ve spent thousands of dollars on flights, rental cars, hotels, and lawyers that we will never get back. Our son has lost a piece of his sweet innocence that he can never get back. For me, this is one of the worst parts.”
Jones tried explaining to the Trayte family that she miscarried the baby months ago, but during the investigation, she told police that she was never pregnant, reported the news website.
After returning to California, the Traytes decided they wanted to hold Jones accountable for her actions. They contacted authorities and the district attorney office in Virginia and on Dec. 14, a judge appointed a special counsel, Chuck Slemp from the Commonwealth Attorney in Wise County, to look into the case.
“From the moment this crime happened, we knew that we wanted two things to come out of this trauma. First, we wanted Elizabeth Jones to be held accountable for her actions. No one should be allowed to inflict this type of emotional pain and get away with it. Second, we knew we wanted to use our story to help protect other vulnerable adoptive families from adoption fraud, so we spoke out,” the family said in another Facebook post in January this year.
“Take off your cloak of mourning and misery and seek justice.” On a bright sunny Sunday morning in December, after…
After the indictment, Slemp said, “[The Sheriff’s department] investigated and they worked with folks to determine whether there was a crime, and they sought the indictments. Now that an indictment has been issued, our office will be prosecuting it,” reported WCYB.com.
“She’ll have an arraignment at some point and the court will assign a trial date,” he added.