JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — A licensed private investigator has been arrested and is facing felony abduction of a child, among other charges.

The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office reports Melanie Lynne Keene was hired by an attorney in January representing a couple seeking custody of an infant. On Jan. 11, the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office received a report that a child had been taking from its grandmother in Holly Springs.

Investigators said Keene took the child and carried it to the couple that the attorney represents. Keene was under the pretext that an Ex-Parte Hearing for Temporary Emergency Custody would take place on Jan. 12.

Officials also said Keene advised the couple to turn off their phones and not to speak with law enforcement to prevent the child from being returned to its grandmother. Warrants against Keene were obtained March 10 and on March 11, she was arrested in Brunswick County and charged with the following:

  • Felony Abduction of Children
  • Felonious Restraint
  • Felony Obstructing Justice
  • Misdemeanor Resisting Public Officer

Keene, 60, Maplechase Drive in Leland was booked in the Brunswick County Detention Center under a $1,000 secured bond awaiting her first appearance.

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.