Archive for Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Abducted Missouri baby found alive

September 20, 2006

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— A newborn abducted after her mother was slashed was found alive Tuesday in excellent condition, and a woman who had recently miscarried was arrested, officials said.

Dr. Peter McCarthy, an emergency room physician at St. John's Hospital in Washington, Mo., said 11-day-old Abigale Lynn Woods had been reunited with her mother, father and other relatives.

"The family is elated and thankful to everyone in the community who prayed for them," McCarthy said. "The baby was hydrated, nourished and in good condition when she arrived at the hospital."

FBI agent Roland Corvington identified the suspect as Shannon Beck, who lives a few miles from the home of the mother and baby.

The case broke when Beck's sister-in-law, Dorothy Torrez, contacted authorities.

"She's the hero," Franklin County Sheriff Gary Toelke said. "She's the one that made it happen."

Franklin County Sheriff Gary Toelke tells the media during a news conference how a woman rubbed makeup off the forehead of abducted baby Abby Woods, exposing her birthmark, in Union, Mo. The newborn girl was found alive Tuesday, not far from her home in Lonedell, Mo.

Franklin County Sheriff Gary Toelke tells the media during a news conference how a woman rubbed makeup off the forehead of abducted baby Abby Woods, exposing her birthmark, in Union, Mo. The newborn girl was found alive Tuesday, not far from her home in Lonedell, Mo.

On Sunday, Beck contacted Torrez to say she had given birth, Corvington said. Beck had been pregnant but apparently miscarried shortly before her own child was to be born.

Torrez visited Beck on Monday and urged her to take the child to a doctor, the FBI agent said. Beck agreed, and Torrez accompanied her to St. Louis on Tuesday, about 45 miles away.

Torrez noticed what appeared to be makeup on the baby's forehead, Corvington said. When she rubbed the forehead, makeup came off what was covering a small birthmark.

In publicizing the abduction, police had described Abby's strawberry-red birthmark. Her suspicions aroused, Torrez confronted Beck, who gave her the baby, Corvington said. Torrez contacted police, and the baby was handed over to authorities around 5 p.m. Tuesday.

"An outstanding ending, obviously," Toelke said.

Toelke said the county prosecutor would address criminal charges today. It wasn't immediately clear where Shannon Beck was or whether she had a lawyer.

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