A newborn baby was stolen from a Quebec hospital by a woman dressed in nursing scrubs. Luckily, the baby girl was soon reunited with her distraught parents.
The 21-year-old suspect walked into the maternity ward at Trois-Rivieres in Quebec, Canada Monday night. She took parents’ Mélissa McMahon and Simon Boisclair just-born daughter Victoria in her arms, saying she had to weigh her.
“She was very calm, she wasn’t stressed. It seemed logical, the baby hadn’t been weighed since her birth,” McMahon told The Globe and Mail.
But the woman was no nurse. The couple noticed that the woman turned the wrong way out of the room—towards to exit.
A little over three hours later, however, the new parents’ anguish was over. A group of young locals banded together and pieced together clues from social media to track down the kidnapper.
The police sent out an Amber Alert a little after 9 p.m., using photos from a surveillance video and a description of the woman’s car—a red Toyota with a “bébé à bord” (baby on board) sign on the window.
A group of 19- and 20-year-olds, Charlène Plante, Mélizanne Bergeron, her twin sister Sharelle Bergeron and Sharelle’s boyfriend Marc-André Côté, were hanging out at home when they saw the alert on their Facebook feed.
“It’s a pretty rare thing that something that exciting happens in Trois-Rivières,” said Sharelle Bergeron.
That’s when they saw the woman’s photo—and realized that they knew her. The suspect had gone to school with them and had lived in the same building as Plante.
The eager young people jumped into action. They drove to the suspect’s home, saw the red Toyota, and called the police. Officers arrived and kicked down the door, rescuing Victoria.
The suspect is under psychiatric watch. The baby is happily reunited with her real parents.
“You have to give credit to these young people,” Premier Philippe Couillard said. “They showed a lot of initiative.”
Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette has ordered Quebec’s maternity wards to review security. He said he may introduce electronic monitoring bracelets for all newborns, a measure already in effect at 40 hospitals in Canada.
Sources: The Globe and Mail