When Lory Beth Snyder took her infant daughter, Lorelai, to the hospital for some breathing problems, she was worried for her baby’s health and hoped that the medical team would be able to help her.
But she certainly never thought that she’d have to worry about Lorelai’s safety.
That is, until she woke up in her daughter’s hospital room in the NEA Baptist Hospital in Jonesboro, Arkansas on August 5 and realized that her daughter was missing.
Snyder explained what had happened in a Facebook post, describing it as “the most terrifying thing that happened to [her] family.”
Snyder went on to explain that after settling her daughter in for a nap during their stay, she decided to rest as well. She had been the only one caring for the baby and was, understandably, exhausted.
“Neither of us had slept in quite a while, with all the chaos of a hospital, exams, blood work and other testing to find out what was wrong with her,” she explained. “So when I finally got her to rest, I myself laid down as well.”
But their afternoon nap turned into ugly when Snyder says she awoke about an hour later and discovered that her daughter was no longer in the room with her.
She went searching for Lorelai and eventually located her in another room, in the arms of a female patient, a woman named Ms. Harris, where a group of “six or seven” nurses were playing with Lorelai.
What Snyder describes next is chilling.
“I proceed to take Lorelai out of her arms. Even though she persisted that I return to my room, without Lorelai, she stated repeatedly that I needed to just go rest. I told her, no that I was fine and I would be taking my daughter back now.
I removed Lorelai from her arms, and the nurses who had been standing around gathered up her things, because along with taking Lorelai she also took my diaper bag (which had been emptied around her room), IV pole, and crib Lorelai was in sleeping in.”
Snyder relates that even after she returned to her room with Lorelai, three of the nurses and Ms. Harris followed the pair, insisting that the child was not in danger, that the nurses knew the patient, and that they “meant no harm.” Despite her protests, Snyder claims that Ms. Harris again insisted that she allow Lorelai to return to her own room so that Snyder could continue to rest.
At that point, Snyder says the nurses had to remove Ms. Harris from her daughter’s room.
“After what felt like an eternity, the nurses returned to transfer us to ICU, so we were in a secure unit that had security,” she described.
And despite the strangeness of the situation and the nurses’ insistence that Ms. Harris meant no harm, Snyder was still very shaken up by the whole incident.
“While I honestly don’t know if Ms Harris’ intentions were noble, since she claims to of [sic] just been trying to care for Lorelai. I don’t know what she herself was ill with, something that could make my daughter sick. I don’t know anything! I don’t know what her actual intent with my child was. What she did with her. Or even how long she actually had her.”
When she contacted the Jonesboro Police Department, Snyder was surprised to discover that she could not actually press charges of any kind.
“[They] stated that no crime was committed because Harris didn’t ‘intend’ to rape or molest my child. Apparently anyone can take any child anywhere, and it’s not kidnapping as long as you don’t intend to harm the child. So says the law according to the Jonesboro PD.”
But Snyder does not agree with the technicality of the law when it comes to the safety of babies like hers, especially while being cared for in a hospital setting. “Whether or not the intent of harm was or was not there, a child should never be taken in the way in which my daughter was,” she says.
Lorelai, who was eventually diagnosed with a serious milk allergy and improved after switching her formula, is home and healthy now — but you can guarantee that her mother is holding her extra close these days.
“Thank the gods that [my] baby is safe. We were lucky. Many parents do not get as lucky as we have.”