A newborn baby waits for attention at Lima's maternity hospital, May 8, 2014. Peruvians will celebrate Mother's Day on Sunday. REUTERS/ Mariana Bazo (PERU - Tags: SOCIETY HEALTH)
Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette on Tuesday ordered all hospitals in the Canadian province to review and strengthen their respective security procedures after a newborn was abducted from a hospital in Trois-Rivières. The baby girl has since been returned to her parents three hours after being kidnapped, thanks to Facebook and the gallantry of four young people.
Day-old Victoria was taken on Monday night from the maternity ward at the Sainte-Marie pavillion of the Centre hospitalier régional de Trois-Rivières (CHRTR). A woman dressed as a nurse showed up at the hospital, entered the maternity ward and took the baby from the mother.
Wrapping the infant in a blue blanket, the woman told Mélissa McMahon, Victoria's mum, that the six-pound newborn had to be weighed.
"She walked calmly down the hall, wearing a nurse's uniform. No one asked any questions about who she was," a hospital employee told Radio-Canada.
Probably sensing something odd, McMahon asked around with hospital staff and later confirmed her baby had been stolen.
It was too late when McMahon ran for the hospital entrance as she learned Victoria's kidnaper had already left. She discovered, however, the woman poser drove a red Toyota Yaris hatchback with a "Bébé à bord" (Baby on Board) sticker on the back window.
McMahon immediately turned to her account on Facebook, posted her baby had been kidnaped and provided all necessary information and details.
"The possibility of a worst case scenario was turning loops in our heads," McMahon wrote. "Unfortunately, the endings to these situations are rarely happy, particularly in cases like this."
Simon Boisclair, baby Victoria's father, pleaded friends on Facebook to spread the news as "fast as possible."
"Help us please, after one day our daughter has been stolen."
The plea for help was eventually read by four young adults - sisters Mélizanne Bergeron and Charel Bergeron and friends Marc-André Côté and Charlène Plante.
"Woman is 5' 4", 130 lbs, driving a red Yaris. If seen, dial 911."
"We saw [the alert] on Facebook, and decided to go looking for red cars, and we saw the woman. We recognized her," Mélizanne said.
Turned out Plante knew the woman. "She was my neighbour; I moved two weeks ago so I knew it was her," she told Rouge 94.9 FM.
They then called the police, who arrived on the scene without sirens on so as not to attract attention. They broke into the woman's apartment, found her there as well as the baby.
"It all happened so fast, but to have her safe and sound in my arms after only three hours of intense searching was very surreal," McMahon wrote on Facebook as she thanked everyone for leading "four incredible people" to her baby. "Every click, every share made the difference."
The suspected kidnapper is believed to be suffering from mental health problems, according to the National Post.
Criminal charges have yet to be filed against her as of Tuesday evening.