California woman Jesenea Miron accused of posing as nurse to kidnap baby

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A Southern California woman is facing kidnapping charges after authorities said she posed as a nurse and snatched a newborn from a hospital room before the baby’s father stopped her.

Jesenea Miron, 23, allegedly walked into the Riverside University Health System Medical Center in Moreno Valley, Calif., “disguised as a nurse” on July 14, according to Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy Saul Fernandez. Miron entered the room of a patient who had just given birth and “walked out with her baby,” Fernandez wrote in a declaration for Miron’s bail.

The baby’s father stopped Miron and hospital staff intervened, but Miron managed to escape, according to police. The woman fled the hospital — about 60 miles east of Los Angeles — but police arrested Miron at her home the following day, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

After her arrest, she confessed to posing as a nurse, according to the declaration.

“She wanted to be close to a baby,” Fernandez wrote. “She also said if she wanted to kidnap a baby it would be easy and she could walk out of a hospital with one.”

It is unclear whether Miron knew the family or chose the infant at random.

When she was arrested, police also found ultrasounds from two other hospitals in Miron’s home, according to the declaration.

Miron faces felony charges of kidnapping and child stealing and is being held on $1 million bail in a jail in Banning, Calif., according to court records. She pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to be back in court for a bail hearing on Tuesday.

Her attorneys did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.

Jennifer Cruikshank, the hospital’s CEO, said in a statement that the facility has “multiple layers of security” and it is grateful that “those systems and our vigilant staff were able to thwart this suspect.”

Cruikshank said the hospital is working with the sheriff’s office to investigate the incident and is supporting the family to “ensure their emotional well-being.”

“Our security protocols have been reviewed and reinforced, and we have additional sheriff’s deputies on campus,” Cruikshank said.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), infant abductions are most commonly carried out by a “female of childbearing age who appears pregnant” and may have lost a child or is unable to have one. They frequently pose as a nurse or other health-care worker and may have visited more than one hospital before carrying out the abduction, though they usually do not target a specific infant, according to NCMEC.

Almost 35 years ago, she let a stranger hold her newborn. It has haunted her ever since.

In 2017, police arrested 51-year-old Gloria Williams in South Carolina for kidnapping an infant in Florida in 1998 and raising her as her own for 18 years. The abductor dressed as a nurse and spent five hours in a hospital room with the baby’s mother before claiming the infant needed to be checked for a fever and leaving with the infant.

The 18-year-old believed Williams was her mother and was in otherwise good health. She met her birthparents in 2017.

She was abducted from a hospital as a newborn. 18 years later, she met her birth parents.

Infant abductions, however, remain extremely rare. NCMEC has logged 364 such cases between 1964 and November 2020, with 140 of those being from health-care facilities.