Police in Quebec have found a day-old baby who was kidnapped from a hospital maternity ward Monday night.
Provincial police issued an Amber Alert just after 10 p.m. saying a newborn baby was taken from a mother’s room by a woman posing as a nurse in Trois-Rivières hospital. The alleged abduction took place just after 7 p.m., police said.
By 10:30 p.m., television cameras captured a police officer carrying the baby back into the hospital after several frantic hours of searching. Officers also had a suspect in custody.
The Sûreté du Québec said a woman in her 30s dressed in burgundy nurse scrubs walked into the hospital maternity ward and walked out 12 minutes later with a day-old, six-pound baby.
The woman approached a mother “under false pretenses” to take the baby, according to police.
Police released a photo pulled from a security camera of a 5-foot-4, 130-pound woman with shoulder-length brown hair.
The public was asked to watch for a red Toyota Yaris with a “baby on board” sign in the rear window.
The baby was taken from the Sainte-Marie pavillion of the Centre Hospitalier régional de Trois-Rivières, police say.
The four teenagers who spoke to reporters as they left the hospital were identified by a local newspaper as Charlène Plante, Mélizanne Bergeron, Charel Bergeron et Marc-André Côté.
"We had nothing to do and we saw [the alert] on Facebook. So we decided to take a drive and look around. En route, we saw the photo and recognized her. We went to her house, saw the vehicle, saw the baby in the house, Mélizanne Bergeron told reporters in Trois-Rivières after meeting with investigators.
Nursery kidnappings are very rare, particularly since hospital security to protect newborns was ramped up after three Ontario kidnappings between 1991 to 1996.
According to an RCMP backgrounder, a decade passed before another handful of kidnappings led to even tighter security in many hospitals, including electronic monitors attached to ankles or wrists in some jurisdictions.
“The abductors are usually females who really want a baby of their own,” said the document prepared by RCMP researcher Marlene L. Dalley.
The paper notes “in most cases the abductor cares for the baby’s needs well.”