Facebook Helps Save Kidnapped Newborn Within HoursMonica Bielanko
Turns out, Facebook isn’t just a place where you are inundated with photos of your neighbor’s trip to Hawaii or your sister-in-law’s dinner, it’s a place where miracles can happen in hours.
One of those miraculous moments happened at a Quebec hospital this week when a newborn was returned to her mom after being stolen by a woman posing as a nurse. New mom Melissa McMahon calls it “the worst moment of our lives” when her newborn baby was taken from her arms.
McMahon and husband Simon Bosclair spent hours in agony, the worst playing on a loop in their heads. But the Canadian parents have Facebook to thank for the safe return of their baby girl.
McMahon was holding her daughter, Victoria, when a woman dressed as a nurse came into the room at Ville-Marie hospital in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec and said the baby needed a routine test. When McMahon and her husband handed over the baby, they felt like something was wrong. Within 13 minutes the hospital discovered the kidnapping and called police.
Police tell CTV News the woman had driven away in a red Toyota Yaris with a “baby on board” sticker. Almost immediately surveillance video of the woman was being seen across Quebec. Four girlfriends in their 20s saw the Facebook alert and recognized the woman in the images as an old neighbor. They called police who were at the woman’s doorstep in moments. After breaking down the door, police found baby Victoria inside safe and sound. Amazingly, she was returned to her parents within three hours of the kidnapping. The suspect, 21-year-old Valerie Poulin-Collins, has been charged and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
Could the same thing have happened here in the United States? Maybe. Depends on the hospital. Many hospitals here attach electronic bracelets to newborns that result in an alarm if the baby is taken out of the maternity ward. The Canadian hospital where Victoria was born did not have that level of security.
Melissa McMahon posted a note on Facebook thanking police, investigators, hospital staff, and the four young women who recognized the suspect for their work in helping to locate her daughter. She also has a warning for other mothers.
“Don’t ever be fooled by a uniform.” She urges all new parents to study hospital staff badges. “I know it can seem insignificant, but all of this could have been avoided if I had been on guard … it’s your kid, don’t let it out of your eyesight.”
Most hospitals have a policy that all staff must prominently display ID badges. Study each badge whenever a new nurse comes to your room. Although baby kidnappings from hospitals in the U.S. are becoming rare as a result of security tags and bracelets, you can never be too safe.
Image courtesy of Facebook.