A woman was arrested after she allegedly stuffed her newborn baby into a duffel bag and kidnapped the infant from the hospital.
Stephanie Belden, 35, reportedly did not want her newborn baby to be taken away from her after she tested positive for meth during childbirth on 17 October, police said. Authorities met with Belden before the kidnapping to let her know her child would be handed over to California's Merced County CPS .
"The biological mother wasn't very happy with that, went back up, made her way into the maternity ward and cut off the alarm bracelet off the newborn baby, put the newborn baby in a duffel bag and walked out of the hospital," Fresno Police Lieutenant Jay Struble told KFSN.
According to Merced Sun Star, the baby went missing around 7.25 and 7.30pm. Police, which were called at 7.36pm, went to Belden's home where she was found "hiding".
"She refused to answer the door, so, our of concern for the child's safety, officers forced their way into the home," Struble said. Belden was in custody by 7.58pm.
Struble added: "Within 30 minutes, the child was reported missing and officers made the arrest and found the child—who was unharmed."
Belden was booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of kidnapping, child stealing, child endangerment and a county-parole violation, jail records reveal. She remained in custody without bail and is set to be back in court on Wednesday (25 October).