KwaZulu-Natal hospital staff foiled an alleged baby thief’s attempts to “steal” a four-day-old infant this week. On Tuesday, the suspect approached the mother in Mtubatuba and sent her to purchase airtime while she held the baby. But when the mother returned, the suspect and the infant had vanished. The young mother reported the theft of…
her baby to the police and shared her experience on Facebook.
Later that day, the suspected baby snatcher went to Hlabisa Hospital to obtain a hospital card for the infant, saying to be the biological mother. When nurses from the outpatients and maternity departments questioned her about the infant and the circumstances surrounding its delivery, it became clear her version was contradictory. She was told to return to the hospital where she had given birth.
Hospital management contacted the police and found out an infant had been snatched. The suspected baby thief returned to the hospital the next day.
Staff appeared to help her as they purposefully prolonged the “administrative procedure”, while they secretly called the police, who came shortly afterwards, with the baby’s mother.
There was no indication the suspect had recently been pregnant or given birth, according to the hospital report. When the police arrived, the suspected baby thief was still dressed in the same clothing she had worn the day before and the baby’s mother’s cellphone was still in her hands. She was immediately arrested. The child was hospitalised and treated for a minor ailment and is being monitored in the hospital.
On Friday, provincial health MEC and acting premier Nomagugu Simelane commended the hospital’s staff and administration. Simelane urged mothers not to take chances with their babies.
“We would like to commend the nurses and doctors at Hlabisa Hospital for being proactive and alerting the police when realising there is something amiss. We thank them for what they’ve done. We need to be vigilant, so we can curb the scourge of baby thefts,” said Simelane.
“I’d also like to particularly urge all mothers to look after their children. You can’t just give your baby to a stranger in town, and say, ‘Please hold my baby, I’m going into the store.’ A baby isn’t like a bag or object and must be with you at all times as the mother.
“Whether you’re going into the store or to the loo, take your baby with you. Do not trust anyone because there are many people out there who are looking for children. Some steal babies because they don’t have them; others sell them; while others murder them and sell their body parts. We are pleading with mothers to look after their children, so that we can get rid of this scourge.” she added.
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