Missing woman found safe; police say she staged own abduction to get away

LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- The mother of six who vanished from the Lakewood Farmers Market Tuesday night was found safe Thursday night. Authorities said she admitted staging her own abduction so that she could get away.

Moua Vang, 31, had last been seen Tuesday, when she was selling flowers at the Lakewood Farmers Market. Her van and many of her personal items were left behind. Police investigated her disappearance as a possible abduction.

But Lakewood police said Thursday night that Homeland Security had located Vang  and that she was on an inbound flight to Seattle. Lakewood police officers met the plane and interviewed Vang.

"Vang admitted that she staged her vehicle/booth to look like an abduction so that she could leave without her family knowing," police said in a news release. "Once Vang got to her destination, she decided she wanted to come come and got on a plane back to Seattle."

"Vang made suicidal comments during her interview and was involuntarily committed to a mental health facility for treatment," the news release said.

Lakewood police say after she staged the scene, an airport shuttle came and picked her up. She took a flight to Thailand, then changed her mind and returned. She had been up for days and was taken to the hospital Thursday night.

She worked 12 hours a day, 6 days a week selling the flowers that her family grows on their farm in Snohomish County.

Authorities say they are not pursuing any charges against Moua Vang for staging her disappearance.

Lakewood Police had scoured surveillance video from the farmers market for days to try to find out what happened to Vang.

“Tuesday was the last time I saw her,” Moua’s husband, Jor Chang, said through a translator Thursday, before she was found. “I don’t know what to do or say, I’m just worried sick.”

Vang was last seen packing up her flower booth at the farmers market Tuesday afternoon but by 8 p.m. her van was found still in the parking lot in disarray; the doors wide-open, her cell phone and wallet left inside.

The mother of six had seemingly vanished without a trace.

“It looked like somebody had been interrupted in cleaning up their booth,” said Lt. Chris Lawler with the Lakewood Police Department. “The keys to the van were there, the wallet was still there also. That made it more suspicious.”

“Right now I don’t know what to tell my kids,” Chang had said Thursday. “The best I can do is comfort them and we try to keep them out of school to prevent too many questions from the kids at school.”

Chang also said he has no reason to believe his wife would abandon his family.

“My wife and I love each other and I trust her,” he said. “I don’t think she would just run away.”