Lena Lunsford, the mother of a 3-year-old Lewis County girl missing for more than six weeks, has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of welfare fraud.

Twenty-nine-year-old Lunsford waived her right to appear in U.S. District Court in Elkins.

Her daughter Aliayah vanished from the family home in Weston on Sept. 24. Investigators are treating the disappearance as a crime.

Lunsford was indicted last week on charges of swapping credits on her food stamp card for $50 cash five times in two months. She faces more than 10 years in prison if convicted.

A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 13.

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