March 11, 2007 in Nation/World

Woman kidnaps 3-day-old baby

Betsy Blaney Associated Press
 

LUBBOCK, Texas – A woman posing as a medical worker kidnapped a 3-day-old girl from a hospital early Saturday, police said.

Mychael Darthard-Dawodu was last seen at 1:20 a.m. at Covenant Lakeside Hospital when a woman wearing blue and flower-print hospital scrubs and a gray hooded jacket took her and drove off in a pickup truck, police said.

Hospital surveillance video showed the woman with the jacket hood pulled around her head and holding a purse as she walked out of the building through the lobby.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the kidnapper was wearing a hospital name badge, Gwen Stafford, senior vice president of Covenant Health System, said at a news conference.

“I don’t think that our staff had ever seen her,” she said.

The baby was jaundiced, but Lt. Scott Hudgens said he did not have any other information on her medical condition. Jaundice is a common complication in newborns in which a buildup of pigment in the blood causes yellowing of the skin.

The parents, Caisha Darthard and Michael A. Dawodu, and other family members declined to comment Saturday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The suspect had gone into the mother’s room several times before the baby was taken, telling the mother the baby needed treatment, Stafford said.

Hudgens said the mother alerted someone that her baby was gone within about 15 minutes.

Police said they received tips about the abduction from across the country Saturday, but none had yet panned out. “There’s no telling where they went,” Hudgens said.

The newborn was wearing a monitoring device, but hospital officials wouldn’t say whether the device included a global positioning system beacon.

Stafford said the hospital has “a very good and sophisticated security” system.

Later she declined to describe the system used with newborns. “I don’t want to compromise the security system,” Stafford said.

It was the second hospital abduction in Lubbock in less than a year. In June, a newborn at a different hospital was taken by a woman who had visited the baby’s mother. A tip led to the woman’s whereabouts the next day and she took police to the 5-day-old girl.

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