Grand jury doesn’t indict woman who police said falsely claimed she had COVID-19

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Hillsborough County Superior Court North.

MANCHESTER, NH – A charge of “false public alarm” against a former Mont Vernon woman who police said told an arresting officer she had COVID-19 when she didn’t, was dismissed this week after a grand jury failed to indict her.

Maria Young, 21, formerly of 3 Levesque Lane, Mt. Vernon, but now of Durham where she is attending the University of New Hampshire, pleaded true in Hillsborough County Superior Court Northern District on Tuesday to a violation of disorderly conduct.  Originally, she also was charged with simple assault and domestic violence simple assault for allegedly assaulting her half-brother.

Under the plea agreement, Young was given a suspended $1,000 fine and ordered to undergo a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor evaluation within 90 days with follow-up treatment if necessary.

Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Jonathan Cowal dismissed the “simple assault” charge citing “prosecutor’s discretion,” which was replaced with the disorderly conduct charge.  The court file notes that on July 13, 2021 – the same day – the grand jury issued a “no true bill,” that is, it declined to indict her.

The charges stemmed from an incident on March 24, 2020, in Mont Vernon where Young allegedly assaulted her half-brother.  Police arrested her and were taking her to the Amherst police station to be booked when she told Sgt. Aaron R. Daigneault that she was experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.  She said she had a cough, had difficulty breathing and had had a COVID-19 test the day before at the National Guard Armory in Manchester.

In the booking room, she said she had to vomit because she was struck in the head and also said she was in quarantine because of the virus.

Police said she didn’t cough once and Amherst EMS noted she did not have a fever or any breathing difficulties.  She was released on bail and the areas where she had been, including the back seat of the cruiser and equipment, were sanitized.

Investigators later learned she was tested for COVID earlier than she told police and had received the results, which were negative, prior to her arrest.