GARDEN GROVE, Calif. - A woman was arrested after police said she took a newborn infant from a mother as they lay in a hospital bed and tried to take the baby out of the building in a large tote bag.
Police officers were sent to the Garden Grove Medical Center at about 10 a.m. Monday to investigate the attempted kidnapping of the newborn baby girl.
The suspect, 48-year-old Grisel Ramirez of Garden Grove, posed as a hospital employee when she walked into the mother and infant’s room, police told CBS Station KCAL.
The suspect, who wore hospital scrubs along with a visitor’s pass, walked into the maternity ward, where she was questioned by a nurse. Ramirez left, but then walked upstairs to the fifth floor, where mothers and newborns stay.
There she suggested to one mother that she take a shower in preparation for a doctor’s visit, Garden Grove Police Lt. Jeff Nightengale said.
While the mother was in the shower, Ramirez placed the newborn into a large tote bag she had brought with her and walked out of the hospital room, he said.
As soon as the suspect entered another part of the hospital, an electronic sensor attached to the baby girl’s right ankle set off alarms, which alerted hospital staff. The alarm also automatically locked the doors, preventing the kidnapper’s escape.
Hospital employees stopped the suspect and recovered the girl, who was safely returned to her mother.
The baby was not injured.
The suspect has been uncooperative and would not correctly identify herself, Nightengale said.
KCAL correspondent Stacey Butler says police do not understand why Ramirez - who is undocumented but has lived in the area for 20 years and has raised a family - would attempt to kidnap a newborn.
Detectives said this was not Ramirez’s first attempt at kidnapping a baby.
Last week, at Western medical Center in Anaheim, a woman fitting Ramirez’s description entered the facility. There she began questioning an expectant mother.
Her behavior was enough to raise suspicions, and a police alert with Ramirez’s photo and description was circulated.
Butler says Ramirez could face life in prison.