Stolen from hospital: Canadian baby abductions
WATCH: Police return abducted baby to parents
TORONTO – A Quebec baby is safe and sound after the 16-hour old infant was snatched from her mother’s Trois-Rivieres hospital room Monday night by a woman posing as a nurse.
Melissa McMahon thanked hospital staff, police, media and the public for helping find daughter Victoria through social media postings.
But it’s not the first time a baby has been abducted from hospital, according to records kept by RCMP.
Toronto, Ont. 1991 – The first recorded National Missing Children Services involving the abduction of a newborn from a maternity ward happened when a nurse left an unattended baby in a bassinet near the door for a few minutes.
Burlington, Ont. 1993 – An abductor posed as staff, convincing the mom her baby needed blood tests, and took the five-day old from the hospital room. The baby was found half a day later about 10 kilometres from the hospital.
Kelowna, B.C. 1996 – A woman posing as a hospital photographer asked the mother for permission to take the baby for a photo, and then vanished, accompanied by two teenage boys. The baby, sick but unharmed, was later found 15 kilometres from the hospital.
Between 1996 and 2003, Canadian hospitals held training programs on hospital security and safety, and received information packages from various missing children agencies. The RCMP said in a research paper that during this time period “abductions from Canadian hospitals were rare.”
Edmonton, Alta. 2003 – A baby was abducted from a hospital by a family member.
Windsor, Ont. 2004 – A father stole his baby from hospital in a duffel bag on a cold winter day.
Humber, Ont. 2006 – Two older teens took a newborn from hospital.
Sudbury, Ont. 2007 – A woman pretending to be a nurse took a newborn from hospital while the mother was distracted, and took the baby 300 kilometres to her home before it was safely recovered.
January 31, 2004 – A newborn was abducted from a hospital by its parents, and recovered safely the next day.
When contacted for updated data on child abductions from hospital, RCMP emphasized stranger abductions are “very rare.”
“The RCMP’s National Missing Children Operations (NMCO) is not always notified of all child abductions as these are investigated by the local police,” wrote spokesperson David Falls in an email to Global News. “Therefore, we cannot provide definitive statistics on infants abducted from hospitals, although they are exceedingly rare.”
Falls said the AMBER Alert program began in 2002, and that only two of the 74 were for newborns abducted from hospitals: the Jan. 31, 2004 incident listed above, and the Trois-Rivieres case resolved Monday night.
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