Quick-thinking young people hailed as heroes after tracking down abducted baby
Published Monday, May 26, 2014 9:26PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 27, 2014 9:38PM EDT
The mother of a newborn baby returned after a terrifying ordeal has four quick-acting young people to thank.
An Amber Alert was issued on Monday evening, when a woman disguised as a nurse walked into the Sainte-Marie Pavilion of the Trois-Rivieres regional hospital centre, and entered the bedroom of a new mother.
The woman left the room a few moments later, taking the day-old baby with her.
Police rapidly alerted the media and the public about the event, and were able to publish surveillance photos of the suspect.
Those photos are what led the young people to find the alleged abductor, and return the baby safely.
“I didn’t realize it. I'm just a person, like anybody, and I saved a life. It's the biggest emotions that we can have,” said Charlene Plante, who, along with her friends Melizanne and Sharelle Bergeron, and Sharelle’s boyfriend Marc-André Coté, were at home when they saw word spread on social media.
“We were on Facebook,” said Plante. “We just wanted to do something for the night, so we went out to find the car.”
The abductor was said to be driving a red Toyota Yaris hatchback with a “baby on board” sign in the rear window.
A closer look at the suspect -- a 21-year-old woman about 5'4" and 130 lbs, with dark hair, walking through the hospital in a nurse’s uniform – and Plante believed she recognized the alleged abductor as a former neighbour.
“We lived in the same building, right next door… I knew her because the police came sometimes,” to her apartment. The young women drove to the apartment and immediately spotted the red car.
“We saw the window open with the lights and so we knew there was someone in the house,” said Plante.
They immediately called police.
"When we saw the car I called police and said we had found the woman and the baby. I didn't know if the baby was inside but I was certain she was there," said Melizanne.
Police arrived within minutes and broke down the door.
“When they come it was like ‘Piff! Paff!’ and they pushed the door off and took the baby,” said Plante.
“Seconds after we saw the baby and we could touch and it was the best moment in my life. We were crying,” continued Bergeron.
The group was given a heroes’ welcome at the hospital, where the baby, named Victoria, was returned to her parents Melissa McMahon and Simon Boisclair, father of the child, who reporteds they were all safe and sound at their home on Tuesday morning.
Bergeron also posted a video on Facebook of the young women crying as an officer emerged carrying a tiny, blanketed baby in his arms.
"An evening rich in emotions," she wrote in the video caption.
Meanwhile, the woman accused of abducting the infant is under observation in hospital.
Police met briefly with the woman Monday night and will question her again when her condition permits.
The Surete du Quebec said officers will interview her at length before making any recommendations about charges, but she will be formally charged upon release.
The hospital is working with police to determine how the abduction took place and said they plan to put in place new measures to ensure this incident is the last of its kind.