(SPRING, Texas) — A registered nurse arrested for gunning down and killing a new mother and snatching her 3-day-old baby in the parking lot of a Texas pediatrician’s office will face capital murder charges, according to the Montgomery County district attorney.
The newborn, Keegan Schuchardt, was found alive and well six hours after his 28-year-old mother Kayla Marie Golden was killed Tuesday, according to police. The suspect in the killing, Verna Deann McClain, a 30-year-old mother of three, is in police custody.
“She’s given a full statement to the detectives with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department,” the district attorney, Brett Ligon, said Wednesday on ABC’s Good Morning America. “As part of the statement with that agency, in conjunction with the other evidence that we were able to obtain yesterday…we did charge her [McClain] in the early hours of this morning with capital murder.”
Golden was standing by her pickup truck outside the pediatrician’s office in Spring, Texas, around 2:40 p.m. Tuesday when a car with a man and woman inside pulled up. There was reportedly an altercation, after which the woman got out and shot the mother repeatedly with what was believed to be a 9mm pistol, then took the baby and drove off.
“My baby, my baby!” Golden reportedly screamed as her infant boy was taken from his car seat. The Houston Chronicle reported that the Lexus struck the mother as it drove off.
As the mother lay dying in the parking lot, a description of the getaway vehicle and occupants quickly went out as an Amber Alert. Golden later died at a local hospital.
Police were led to the Fawnridge Apartments in Houston, where sources said a SWAT team entered a unit and found a woman inside speaking on the phone with another woman. Investigators were then able to track the woman on the other phone to a home in north Harris County, where baby Keegan was found.
An affidavit obtained by ABC News from the Montgomery County police states that McClain admitted to shooting Golden and taking the baby to her home in Texas’ Harris County.
According to the affidavit, McClain’s sister, Corina Jackson, had recently said that her sister would be adopting a baby soon. After she allegedly killed Golden and stole her newborn, McClain stated to her sister that she now had the child. McClain has three children ages 16, 10 and 6.
“There were statements that were made by Ms. McClain that led us to believe this was an intentional act on her part, not that Ms. Golden was targeted specifically, but that this was part of a plan to kidnap a child,” Ligon said.
Witnesses said the mom fought to keep the baby from the kidnappers, but ended up in the parking lot with gunshot wounds.
“The child was being put into the suspect vehicle and that’s when the mother tried to get into the car,” Lt. Dan Norris with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said. “The car sped away, knocking the lady to the ground.”
The female suspect was described by witnesses at the time as a black female carrying a small caliber pistol, possibly a 9mm. There was no word from police on the other suspect who was driving the getaway car.
Baby Keegan remains in custody of the state’s Child Protective Services while officials conduct a full background investigation on his father, Keith Schuchardt, before the newborn is returned to his care, according to Ligon.
There was no father listed on the baby’s birth certificate so police want to make sure who the father is before turning the baby over to them.
“I expect them to be reunited this morning or sometime this afternoon,” he said. “Obviously for the father, Keith, it has been a roller coaster. You lose your wife one day but you’re able to recover your child, it’s an emotional swing not many people would be prepared for but I understand he’s holding up well.”
It wasn’t immediately clear whether there was any connection between the kidnappers and Golden or the baby’s father
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