Infant Abduction Prevention, Part 1

What hospital security administrators need to know to prevent abductions at their hospitals

We have learned a lot about infant abductions in the past couple of decades. By carefully studying over 200 infant abductions that have occurred since 1983, we know that the majority of abductors are women, most are overweight and currently married or cohabitating with a significant other. Male abductors acting alone are documented in very few infant abduction cases. But it is important to point out that there are several cases where a male has worked in concert with the female abductor. Both male and female infants are abducted in almost equal numbers. Based on the NCMEC records, the majority of babies taken are recovered in less than one week. Only a small number remain missing. In cases where the infant was unattended, the abductor simply snatched the baby and exited the hospital. In many instances, the infant was concealed and carried out of the hospital under a coat or blanket, or some type of carrier, such as a gym bag, pocket book, or paper sack. However, there are instances in which the kidnapper makes no attempt to even conceal the newborn.

The Criminal Profile of an Abductor

Why in the world would anyone steal a mother's baby from a hospital, or for that matter, from anywhere? We've come to know there are many reasons why a woman becomes so desperate and obsessively compelled to steal another woman's baby without hesitation. Most of these women pretend to be pregnant in an effort to save a failing relationship or for fear of losing the attention they have enjoyed in the past. Once the abductor proclaims her false pregnancy, she has nine months to produce a baby or the relationship and the attention that feeds her low self-esteem are over. She will go to extraordinary means to convince her family, friends and loved ones that she is pregnant, when in fact she knows she is not. Typically, the abductor has delivered at least one child in her life, or has experienced a miscarriage, fetal death, or some other type of medical complication that prevents her from having a baby of her own. Statements from husbands and significant others have revealed that these men would indeed have left their common law wife or girlfriend, had they known she was not pregnant.

Based on cases we've studied, the abductor and their significant other will most likely live in or near the community where the abduction occurs. She may try to convince others she is pregnant by furnishing a nursery room for the "new baby" or by shopping for baby clothes. She is often completely consumed by her fantasy and becomes totally convinced she deserves a baby. The abductor may even attend prenatal classes. At this point she has internally justified her right to have a baby. The most frightening aspect of all is that she will do absolutely anything to get one. The vast majority of these women usually have not been in serious trouble and most are gainfully employed. Some of them are college educated with well established or successful careers. They so desperately want to become pregnant that they ultimately convince themselves as well as their friends and loved-ones that they are.

It is absolutely amazing to consider the lengths these women will go to in order to fool their friends and family members into thinking they are pregnant. In one such case when I testified as an expert witness, the abductor had concocted such an elaborate plan, and was so convincing, that her boyfriend really thought she was pregnant. He drove her to the OB doctor's office on a weekly basis. Upon dropping her off, he watched her enter the office before leaving. She would then walk through the doctor's office out the back door and take a taxi back to their apartment. She told her boyfriend she was having a difficult pregnancy and the doctor had ordered her not to have sex with him because it might endanger the baby. Her performance was so convincing she was even able to persuade this 21-year-old impressionable male that they needed to sleep in separate bedrooms. She persuasively stuffed a pillow under her clothing to help convince her boyfriend of the ongoing pregnancy. Her boyfriend was so gullible and so sure she was pregnant, he told the FBI that he not only heard the baby's heart beat, but also felt it kick. Is this not absolutely amazing?