Police-Woman faked pregnancy to steal newborn baby from hospital
Police say a woman caught trying to steal a newborn girl from a Southern California hospital had faked a pregnancy with her estranged husband.
Garden Grove police Lt. Jeff Nightengale tells The Orange County Register the motive of 48-year-old Grisel Ramirez may have been that she needed to pose as a new mom, and attempted to abduct the baby from Garden Grove Medical Center on Monday, after her due date passed.
The Police claim Grisel Ramirez, 48, gave an elaborate lie to her estranged husband that she was pregnant and had given birth. That’s why she allegedly tried to steal a newborn baby — but was caught when sensors on the child went off.
The bizarre case unfolded Monday, when Grisel Ramirez, 48, was arrested at the Garden Grove Medical Center in Orange County. Police claim she disguised herself in hospital scrubs and said she was there to visit a patient.
But she allegedly took a baby from the hospital and hid it in a tote bag. The plan was foiled when sensors on the child alerted staff that the newborn was out of the maternity ward, officials said.
Ramirez’s husband had no clue she had been lying and claims he wasn’t part of the ruse, according to Garden Grove Police Lt. Jeff Nightengale.
“She perpetuated this myth for several months, and they don’t live together and don’t see each other, so the husband totally believed it,” he added.
When the due date passed, Ramirez’s husband pressed her to meet the child, police said, asking questions like, “When do I get to meet my daughter? When do I need to sign the birth certificate?”
“We interviewed him last night and he for sure thought he was the father of a baby girl,” Nightengale said. “He was upset and devastated that it wasn’t true.”
Ramirez, a waitress, also may have approached several expectant moms and asked about their due dates and their baby’s gender at Western Medical Center-Anaheim on July 26, Nightengale said.
An expectant mom grew suspicious of the questions and alerted hospital staff, who alerted police.
There was no surveillance video available at the hospital, so police did a photo lineup for the people who witnessed the woman’s strange activity and they positively identified Ramirez as the inquisitive lurker.
Garden Grove Medical Center Director Sofia Abrina said Tuesday that Ramirez presented herself as a visitor who wanted to visit a patient when she entered the hospital Monday.
Abrina said when a sensor attached to a bracelet around the baby’s ankle set off alarms, everyone in the ward began searching and running head counts on patients until Ramirez was apprehended.
Ramirez is accused of entering the room of the baby’s mother and posing as a nurse who told the mom to take a shower before a doctor came to examine her.
Once the baby’s mother was out of the room, Ramirez allegedly put the newborn in a purple tie-dyed tote bag and tried to carry her out of the ward, setting off the alarm.
Many hospital wards have security systems where patients, such as newborns or those with Alzheimer’s disease, are tagged with an electronic sensor — usually in a bracelet or anklet — that sets off an alarm when the patient leaves a certain perimeter.
The baby wasn’t harmed during the short time she was in the tote and was returned to the care of her mother.
Authorities have not yet filed any charges against Ramirez.
Ramirez is being held without bail and is due for arraignment Wednesday.
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