South Carolina police are trying to determine whether a mother and her infant child were followed as they ran errands in the hours before the newborn was snatched from a car seat while left unattended in a post office parking lot.
Angel Miguel Perez, an 11-pound baby, was reported missing from the North Charleston post office shortly before 5 p.m. Monday.
An Amber Alert was issued Monday. The FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to Angel's recovery and the identification and arrest of his kidnapper.
North Charleston police spokesman Spencer Pryor told ABCNews.com today that Angel's mother left him strapped into his car seat while she ran inside the post office to buy stamps at an automated machine. She then went to the counter to purchase them from a postal employee when the machine wouldn't work and returned to the parking lot to find her son missing.
Pryor said that a witness reported seeing a heavyset black woman, believed to be in her mid-20s, "that was sort of running across the parking lot of the post office to a nearby church parking lot with a child in hand."
Now police are looking for anyone who saw the woman and her child at the North Charleston WalMart or Ross department store Monday afternoon in the hours before the baby disappeared, trying to determine whether she may have been targeted while running her errands.
Neither the post office nor the church are outfitted with surveillance cameras, but the witness described the suspected kidnapper's car as a grey or silver four-door compact car with a rear spoiler. She was described as about 5'1" tall and 175 pounds, wearing a blue and white striped shirt.
Pryor said police are checking the surveillance tapes at the WalMart and Ross stores.
Angel was born Oct. 17. He is described as having short black hair and brown eyes. According to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division description, he was wearing a blue shirt and blue pants with white shoes and a blue hat at the time of his disappearance.
Pryor said the trip to the post office was at the end of a day of errands that included trips to the doctor's office and stops at two department stores. The baby was taken inside with the mother on all of the errands before the post office.
At the post office, however, the mother left Angel in the car with the engine running, police said.
Police, with the help of the FBI, are now fact-checking the mother's story and trying to piece together a timeline of events to determine exactly how long she was in the post office.
All doors to the mother's car were locked, except the driver's side door, she told police.
"I think the most important thing for us is the safe return of the child," Pryor said. "We can all sit back and Monday-morning-quarterback this later."
Angel's mother, Pryor said, is doing "as well as can be expected in a situation like this."
Police, he added, have no reason to believe the mother was involved with the disappearance of her child. The baby's father has also cooperated with investigators.
Though the baby was healthy and had no known medical problems, "this is a dangerous situation," Pryor said.