UPDATE 1/10: Jessica Ann Ray, 26, of Newport News, is charged with making a bomb threat and three counts of felony child neglect.
Ray is being held at the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail without bond.
JAMES CITY COUNTY-- A woman was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon after the report of child neglect and making a bomb threat.
Police say the incident happened around 5:35p.m. at a T.J. Maxx in the 4600 block of Monticello Avenue.
Police were initially dispatched to the parking lot of Martin’s Grocery at 4660 Monticello for a complaint of child neglect. A witness observed a woman in the parking lot carrying an infant and acting strangely.
The witness told police he saw the woman place the infant underneath a delivery van against a tire. Police say as the witness approached the woman ran off but then returned.
The witness began to interact with the woman who acted as if she was deaf and could not speak.
When he picked up the infant she began screaming, “He will kill us, you must put him back!”
The witness picked up the infant and the woman took off running, police said. The witness took the infant into his car and called 911.
The woman ran into the TJ Maxx screaming that the store was going to blow up in 29 seconds. The woman then ran into the back store room and began climbing the shelves. She repeatedly screamed that the store was going to blow up and then ran out the front door where she was confronted by police officers who had responded to the child neglect call.
She began disrobing and struggled with the officers. She was restrained and taken into custody. She was identified as a 26-years-old woman from Newport News.
The store was evacuated. Members of the Newport News Fire Department Bomb Squad and FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force responded to assist with the search of the building for possible explosives.
The store remained evacuated for around two hours until the search was complete and the scene was declared safe. No explosives were found.
Investigators found out that the woman had been acting strangely in a Burger King across the parking lot with two other small children ages five and six who she abandoned prior to putting the infant under the delivery van.
Police say the woman is reportedly a family friend of the children and was babysitting them while their mother was nearby at a hairdresser’s appointment.
None of the three children were injured and they were released to their mother at the scene.
A police officer received minor injuries to his leg during the scuffle with the woman but did not require medical treatment.
The woman’s identity is not being released at this time. She was taken into police custody and is hospitalized pending a medical and psychological examination.
Charges are pending for making a bomb threat and three counts of child neglect.