Lost child hoax prompts borough-wide search

| 29 Sep 2011 | 08:52

    MILFORD - The story was that a 2 1/2-year-old child was lost. Her name was said to beMallory, and she could be missing in a crowd of several thousand people as the evening’s darkness began to fall on the music festival at the Ann Street Park. Mallory was said to be blonde, wearing a blue dress, and white shoes. That was the announcement given from stage where a Saturday evening performance of The New Riders of the Purple Sage was interrupted. The music was replaced by the voices of several thousand people all looking about them, calling out, “Mallory.” Lori Marrie said there were two announcements at about 8 p.m., first that the child was found and the parents were being sought, and then that the child was lost. “It seemed suspicious, right from the first,” she said. No further word came and the suspended concert resumed shortly after 8:30, but Matt Osterberg said he intervened. The Milford Borough president, who was in attendance, had heard the announcements and the music beginning again. “I didn’t think it was appropriate to continue,” he said. A few minutes later, a final annoucement came and the music stopped again. The crowd was told the festival would be closed for the evening due to the search. Some of the people left, but Osterberg said many remained to help search. The fire department was called and a street-by-street, house-to-house search began. Firefighters from Matamoras, Westfall and Dingman townships were called to assist. Meanwhile, police had gone to the home of Milford resident, Monica Lynn Burd, who had reported the lost child. Their investigation at the Burd home and discussion with neighbors revealed that Burd had no daughter Mallory and the report was a hoax. The search was halted and Burd was arrested. She was charged with filing false reports to law enforcement authorities, arraigned before District Magistrate Debbie Fischer and ordered confined to the Pike County Jail. Milford businessman James Rogers was among them, with his own preschool-age son in tow. Realizing that it was a hoax, he ended his search, “but he doesn’t understand,” nodding at the toddler on his arm. “He’s still looking for her.”