METRO ATLANTA – An African-American teenager has been jailed for ten years for posing as a hospital worker and kidnapping a newborn at a hospital in metropolitan Atlanta.
Naquelle Sontieq Ballard, 19, snatched the two-day-old baby girl in January from a maternity ward at Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale, Georgia. She pleaded guilty on Monday to kidnapping and false imprisonment charges.
Police say after an alarm went off she was confronted by two employees who rescued the infant, which had been placed in Ballard’s pocketbook. The baby was unharmed.
Ballard managed to flee and speed off in her car without the child. Eyewitnesses wrote down her license plate number, helping police track her down to a neighborhood, just five miles away.
After Ballard was arrested she told Clayton County police she had a miscarriage but continued lying to her boyfriend. She had planned to take the baby to her boyfriend’s house and pretend it was their own.
“Our employees are trained twice a year for situations like this and we recently upgraded within the last six months to spend about $180,000 on a security system,” Amanda Bartlett, a Southern Regional Medical Center spokeswoman told NBC affiliate, Atlanta’s 11Alive News.
“So basically anytime an infant is tried to be removed from the unit an alarm goes off, which is what happened today, an alarm went off and two employees stepped in and stopped the suspect.”
‘When the alarms went off, I knew she was gone and I would never see her again,’ said baby Chloe’s mother, Jasmere Brown. Following the incident Brown was so traumatized she left Georgia.
Ballard was sentenced to 20 years — ten to be served in prison.
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