(ATLANTA) — The Georgia woman who attempted to steal a mother’s newborn is back in custody after a judge denied her bond early Thursday morning. Naquelle Ballard, 19, of Morrow, Ga., sneaked into Southern Regional Medical Center on Wednesday in hopes of replacing the baby she had lost in a miscarriage.
Police and hospital officials say that Ballard walked into the hospital Wednesday morning, clad in scrubs. She went into the room of Jas’mere Brown, also 19, where the mother was nursing her newborn daughter, Khloe. Masquerading as a nurse’s technician, Ballard told Brown that she would be back after she was done nursing. In a few minutes Ballard returned and told Brown she would be taking the child to the nursery. Brown handed little Khloe to her, and Ballard tucked the newborn into her large purse.
Karletta Woods, Brown’s mother, had searing questions for the hospital. “How was she able to just go in my daughter’s room, see that she’s nursing and come back a second time and nobody noticed her?” Woods told ABC News.
Ballard was noticed by one person though. Woods actually said hello to Ballard in an elevator, not knowing her newborn granddaughter was inches away from her, sleeping and silent. Luckily, the sensor system that the hospital had in place worked. Each newborn has an ankle bracelet with a sensor inside. Hospital officials say that as soon as Ballard rounded a corner as she headed downstairs, the alarms went off. Two eagle-eyed maintenance workers went after Ballard and managed to wrestle the purse from her. She kept on running and managed to get in her car and drive away but not without the two workers taking down her license plate number and the make of her car. Clayton County Police were able to nab her within an hour.
“We’re really pleased with the way that the system worked and the employees reacted,” said Southern Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Amanda Bartlett. “The workers thought it was a drill but they reacted appropriately and we’re thrilled.”
Though Woods and Brown are happy to have Khloe back, they still can’t rid themselves of the minutes that their “angelic blessing” (as Woods put it) was gone from them. The family had just lost another child a few days ago when Woods’ other daughter had a premature baby that died four weeks after birth.
According to a police affadavit, Ballard told police that she had lost a baby due to a miscarriage and was trying to steal another to present to her boyfriend as her own. The magistrate court set her next hearing for Jan. 17.
Both mother and daughter have no sympathy for the woman who almost stole their child.
“After all the hard work I’ve done, and I just went through all of this pain to get her here, you don’t do that to someone,” Brown told ABC affiliate WSB-TV.
“I have no compassion for her,” Woods added.
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Aaron Smith and Evan Perez, CNM
Julia Horowitz, CNN
Azadeh Ansari and Joe Sutton, CNN
Ray Sanchez, CNN