2 charged after Ont. newborn taken from hospital

Last Updated: Friday, November 2, 2007 | 11:50 AM ET

Abduction charges have been laid against a man and a woman after a day-old baby was taken from a hospital in the northern Ontario city of Sudbury, sparking a nationwide alert and seven-hour search.

Police found the baby girl Thursday evening in a small community 300 kilometres north of the city thanks to tips and police agencies that identified the woman whose image was captured on hospital cameras.

After the newborn was examined at a local hospital in Kirkland Lake and found to be unharmed, she was flown back to Sudbury, where she was reunited with her mother around 3 a.m. ET Friday.

A woman and her boyfriend, both 29, and from the Kirkland Lake area, are in custody, police said Friday. Investigators had previously listed the woman's age as 19 after her arrest.

Const. Bert Lapalme of Greater Sudbury Police Service told CBC News the female suspect was known to other police agencies, though he refused to offer further details.

After the baby's disappearance was discovered Thursday, police issued a nationwide Amber Alert and set up roadblocks around the city.

Police in Kirkland Lake recognized the woman from images shown on television and traced her to a house in the community.

Ontario Provincial Police Const. Roch Belanger said the woman told officers who arrived at her house that the baby was her newborn son and showed them stitches on her abdomen. Police arrested her after verifying the infant, dressed in blue clothing, was female.

Staffer reported suspicious woman

Investigators are now looking into the hours and days leading up to the alleged abduction to determine whether it was premeditated. Lapalme noted the suspect was dressed like the nurses, in a white V-neck top and pants.

Police believe the suspect had been loitering at the hospital for some time, and at one point donned medical scrubs. They said she may have changed clothes several times.

Lapalme alleged the suspect entered the mother's hospital room and had a conversation with her, then walked out with the infant while the mom was distracted. It happened just before 1 p.m. ET Thursday.

Sudbury Hospital senior vice-president Joe Pilon said a member of the hospital's housekeeping staff noticed the woman carrying the infant and alerted nurses the little girl was missing.

Surveillance video shows the staff member pause in the hospital hallway, intently watching the suspect as she walked away.

Pilon said the hospital will work with police to carry out a full internal investigation of its security procedures.

"People on the maternity ward want to know what went wrong  so that this can't happen again and there will be a lot of examining of that," said Pilon.