Woman Accused of Abducting Newborn Released From Jail

Jennifer Latham, 39, told relatives she was nine months pregnant.

February 19, 2009, 4:40 AM

March 31, 2008 — -- A Florida woman who was arrested for allegedly snatching a newborn from a hospital last week will be released from jail today without bond as long as she wears an ankle monitoring bracelet.

Police have charged Jennifer Latham, 39, with kidnapping a 1-day old infant Friday, after she allegedly put the baby in a tote bag and walked out of Central Regional Hospital in Sanford, Fla.

Surveillance photos from the hospital show a woman dressed as a nurse taking a baby from the maternity ward.

Officials believe Latham may have planned to claim the baby as her own. Her family thought she was nine months pregnant.

"We went shopping for baby clothes and all kinds of stuff," Latham's sister Penny Barnard said. "I would never ever in a million years thought this."

Latham was pulled over by police and arrested just a few minutes away, after an alarm on the baby alerted hospital officials as soon as he was taken out of the maternity ward.

"They were able to make a quick recovery because certainly the alarm alerted people and the alert made them more aware of what to look for," Phil Nielsen, vice president of Health Care Security, said.

About 120 infants have been abducted from hospitals in the last 20 years, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

When she was pulled over by police, Latham could be heard on an officer's dash camera trying to convince him that the baby belonged to her, according to ABC News affiliate WFTV. Latham even claimed to be sore from childbirth.

Police are looking into whether Latham has a criminal record in another state, which may persuade the judge to reverse his decision and send Latham to jail.

Sanford police say they're worried that if Latham is released from jail she could be a threat to the child, according to WFTV.

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