Mom of abducted baby thanks social media
By Andy Blatchford for The Canadian PressNews Health Care
The mother of a 16-hour-old infant snatched from a Quebec hospital says she's grateful to everyone who helped bring home her baby - especially the group of people who used social media to track down the alleged kidnapper.
Police issued an Amber Alert on Monday night after the newborn was allegedly abducted from the mother’s hospital room in Trois-Rivieres by a woman wearing scrubs and posing as a nurse.
The alert, which included a security-camera photo of the suspect and a description of her car, spread rapidly on mainstream and social media.
With the guidance of four young locals who took up the cause on social media, police apprehended the woman and recovered the baby safe and sound three hours later.
“Every click, every share made the difference,” Melissa McMahon, the infant’s mother, wrote Tuesday in a post on her Facebook page.
“Four marvellous people, whom we had the chance to meet, identified this woman thanks to Facebook … We felt a huge amount of support from the public. This victory is for you, too!!!”
The four online detectives who helped find baby Victoria were identified as Charlene Plante, Marc-Andre Cote, Charel Bergeron and Melizanne Bergeron.
“We had the chance to meet the family and it was one of the best moments of my life,” Melizanne Bergeron told the Montreal radio station 98.5 FM in an interview Tuesday.
“The parents were euphoric, we had a visit with employees and we received rounds of applause. It was really great to see – it was the greatest gift to see the baby with her parents.”
She said she spotted the information about the kidnapping on Facebook and showed the photo of the suspect to a friend, who recognized her.
“My friend knew where the woman lived,” she said. “The patio door was open, the light was on. We called the police.”
Melizanne Bergeron also posted a video Tuesday on her Facebook page of young women crying as they greeted a police officer carrying a tiny, blanket-wrapped baby.
“An evening rich in emotions,” read the video caption.
McMahon, who also thanked hospital staff, police, the media and the public for helping find Victoria, called those hours without her infant the worst of her life.
“The powerlessness we felt in this situation was difficult to accept,” wrote McMahon, who said she sprinted after the woman toward the hospital exit after sensing something was wrong.
“The worst-possible scenarios were looping in our heads.”
In addition to the photo of the suspect, the Amber Alert also released information that the woman was driving a red Toyota Yaris hatchback with a “Baby on Board” sticker on the rear window.
Quebec provincial police Sgt. Claude Denis said it was too early to say whether the 21-year-old suspect would be arraigned Tuesday.
Possible criminal charges include kidnapping, Denis said.
“The suspect is in hospital right now and investigators will meet her when her condition allows for that,” he said in an interview.
He said a woman was dressed as a nurse when she entered the hospital room.
“She left the room with a little girl she had wrapped in a blanket,” Denis added.
McMahon, who also urged parents to check a nurse’s badge and to always ask questions, posted a photo on Facebook of herself and her spouse, Simon Boisclair, holding Victoria.
The mom said she wouldn’t have Victoria in her arms today without the help of the thousands of people who rapidly shared the Amber Alert and the photo of the suspect on social media.
McMahon asked that the public spread her latest message: “Thanks again and share one more time, please.”
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