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Woman Talks About False Accusation of Tornado Relief Theft

BRYANT, AR -- Melissa Brown is a 33-year-old single mother and disabled Iraq War veteran who stepped up to help in the wake of the April 27th tornado.
BRYANT, AR -- Melissa Brown is a 33-year-old single mother and disabled Iraq War veteran who stepped up to help in the wake of the April 27th tornado.

Brown and some other volunteers called themselves "The Misfits of Mayhem" and worked to get crucial supplies to some of the hardest hit areas of Mayflower.

"We were just people from surrounding communities who were there to help," Brown said. "It just kind of built on itself, and it went really well for three weeks."

On May 18th, Brown was arrested -- charged with stealing relief supplies.

"Three or four Mayflower and Faulkner County cars surrounded us in an empty parking lot," Brown said.

Her truck was impounded. She spent a night in jail, and had to hire a lawyer.

"It was very lonely," Brown said. "I was ashamed of my name. Not because I'd done something wrong, but because these allegations that were false had been attached to it."

Brown's name was cleared when prosecutors determined the investigating officer, Mark Winchester, withheld key evidence and failed to disclose his son and Brown had a previous romantic relationship.

Winchester was fired from the Mayflower Police Department on Tuesday.

Despite all the pain caused by the ordeal, Brown says she holds no ill will. She only hopes her story will draw attention to what she says is the real issue.

"The people of Mayflower, a lot of their lives are still in shambles," she said.

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