A Miami woman allegedly kidnapped her cousin’s baby on Feb. 26, a few weeks after she had a miscarriage.
Stephanie Luna Augustin, 23, reportedly enlisted the help of another cousin, a 14-year-old boy, in kidnapping the 2-month-old baby at gunpoint, the Daily Mail reports.
Loved ones were baffled by the act.
“Her and [the baby's] mother are very close,” Betty Augustin, Stephanie's sister, said. “I don't know what happened.”
Betty urged authorities to give her sister a mental health screening, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
The day after the kidnapping, the boy admitted to his parents what he had done with Stephanie. Police then issued an Amber Alert to find baby Taraji Kemp and Stephanie. While they found and arrested Stephanie as she drove on the freeway, they found the baby safely strapped in a car seat at her apartment.
When questioned, Stephanie claimed “somebody” had told her to steal the child, but did not reveal who.
Stephanie is facing multiple charges ranging from aggravated child abuse and armed burglary, to contributing to the delinquency of a minor and kidnapping.
The 14-year-old boy faces two charges of armed burglary as well as aggravated assault with a gun.
The teen's public defender David Wheeler argues Stephanie was the mastermind behind the crime, stating that "[Stephanie] is the chief architect behind this whole scheme.”
Stephanie reportedly told the boy they were going shopping.
Wheeler said the boy was especially excited by the prospect of spending time with a cousin he doesn’t usually get the chance to see much.
"He jumped at chance to hang out with her, go shopping," said Wheeler. "And the next thing he knows, she says, 'I want to go up and pick up my kid.’”
"He wants to go home," he added. "But once they get to Broward [from Miami-Dade County], he learns about something more nefarious than that."
Wheeler also says the weapon the boy pulled out may have actually been a BB gun.