In the Wake of Texas Baby Theft, the FBI Declares Infant Abductions a "Violent Trend"

Categories: Crime

McClain.jpg
Verna McClain was charged with capital murder after allegedly kidnapping a 3-day-old infant in Texas.
On an otherwise ordinary April afternoon, 30-year-old nurse Verna McClain walked up to Kala Golden in the parking lot of a Spring, Texas, pediatric clinic and shot and killed Golden as she snatched a 3-day-old child from her arms, according to police. The infant was recovered unharmed about six hours later and McClain was arrested. According to an indictment, she had recently had a miscarriage and wanted a baby she could pass off as her own to family and friends.

It's the type of freakish and horrible story that's bound to go viral, and it did. It's also the type of thing that's so bizarre it can't possibly happen very often. Right?

The FBI says otherwise. In a warning issued by the agency today, it calls violent infant abduction a trend, using Golden's murder as a prime example. There are other, less-violent examples. In January, a 32-year-old Florida woman befriended a younger new mother through a social networking site. She told the mother that her own newborn was sick in the hospital and was, at some point, invited to spend the night with the 32-year-old. The next morning, while the mother was showering, the woman kidnapped the 2-week-old infant. The child was later recovered.

The trend, the FBI says, is getting worse as hospitals have increased security to prevent infant abductions.

"Now women who desperately want a child -- and are willing to go to extreme lengths to get one -- have to gain direct contact with their victims, and that's when things can turn violent," says Ashli-Jade Douglas, an intelligence analyst with the FBI's Crimes Against Children Unit.

Your typical baby-napper is a woman between 17 and 33.

"Usually they are unable to get pregnant," Douglas says. "Often, they will fake a pregnancy in the hopes of keeping a boyfriend or husband. ... They just want a child to raise as their own and will do anything to get one."

The FBI warns new parents to avoid displaying pink or blue balloons outside of one's home ("Doing so will advise random strangers that you have a new baby in the house or will soon," Douglas helpfully notes.) Parents should also be wary of people who seem "too interested" in their pregnancy or newborn.

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6 comments
jerikjonsson
jerikjonsson

A trend, huh?  Not a budget justification-type trend, but a real, live crime trend?  I normally like to keep an open mind, but I can feel it slamming shut here.

beda50
beda50

 @kevin812

 Proofing and editing copy, in any publication seems to be a thing of the past.  Newsweek, of all publications, admitted a couple of weeks ago that they don't have fact checkers on staff.  They rely on their writers to do their own fact checking.  We see how well that works.

EricNicholson4
EricNicholson4 moderator

 @beda50  @kevin812 Touche. We could have fact checkers or we could just farm it out, er I mean crowd source, to our eagle-eyed commenters.

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