A Southwest Virginia woman who was charged with faking a pregnancy for adoption pleaded guilty, Wednesday.
Deputies arrested Elizabeth Ann Jones of Scott County in March 2019, after investigators said she lied about her pregnancy to a California couple who were hoping to adopt the baby.
California couple, Laura and Matt Trayte are walking away with a weight lifted from their shoulders.
They explained they were devastated after Jones tricked them.
“Turning something negative into something positive,” Matt Trayte said.
The couple is calling Wednesday’s court decision as “therapeutic”.
“This brings us some closure that she is being held accountable for her actions against us,” Laura Trayte said.
Jones is now heading to prison.
“Elizabeth Ann Jones pleaded guilty to 8 counts of felony obtaining money by false pretenses, violating her probation and obstruction of justice,” Commonwealth’s attorney for Wise County, Chuck Slemp said.
Slemp said Jones’ lies resulted in the theft of more than just property, money and meals.
“She said that she did because she felt so much pain in her life, and she wanted someone else to experience pain,” Slemp said.
However, this traumatic experience is not going to deter the couple from continuing their dreams to adopt a sibling for the 6-year-old son.
“We’re already back on it. Our profile is up on a site called, ‘Adoption for my child’, and then we do still have our website up. It’s called ‘ASiblingForHudson.com’,” Laura said.
Moving forward, the family said the have learned a lot from this experience.
“We’ve been, since a lot more cautious, and a lot more protective. We have our guard up, taking the necessary precautions and getting proof of pregnancy and things like that,” Matt said.
The Traytes are hoping to turn to lawmakers to prevent this same incident from happening to another family.
“It’s great to have people here in Scott County in our corner. I think Chuck Slemp is a great ally to have, because he gets things done. He found a way in this case,” Matt said.
You can watch the full press conference here. In it, the Commonwealth’s attorney for Wise County, Chuck Slemp will speak, as well as Laura and Matt Trayte and investigator Matt Bishop with the Scott County Sheriff’s Office.
They expressed they are relieved in knowing they got their message out, and safeguarded others from falling victim as well.
Jones received a 10-year prison sentence with eight years suspended, which means she will be behind bars for two years, then on probation for five years.