KNIGHTSEN (CBS 5 / KCBS) — The grandmother of a 4-month-old baby girl who disappeared from a home in Knightsen over the weekend has been arrested on kidnapping charges after being found with the infant in Southern California, authorities said Monday.
Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Capt. Steve Warne said four sheriff’s detectives traveled to El Monte in Los Angeles County and recovered Ramy Amadea Gallego, who was found in “good health.” The baby was reunited with her parents, who appeared with their infant before television cameras on Monday evening.
“Everybody’s very happy that Ramy came back safely to her parents,” Warne said.
The girl’s paternal grandmother, 58-year-old Ericka Gallego of El Monte, was booked into the Los Angeles County jail where she was being held Monday on $150,000 bail.
She was charged with one count of kidnapping and, if convicted, could face a maximum of 11 years in prison, Deputy District Attorney Nancy Georgiou said.
KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports:
Investigators would not discuss a motive for the kidnapping, but Warne said “there’s no indication that the grandmother intended to harm the child” who disappeared from her bassinet at her parents’ home in the 1500 block of Tule Lane in Knightsen sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning.
The girl’s mother told authorities she put her daughter to bed Saturday around 10 p.m., but the girl was gone when she checked on her around 6 a.m. the next morning.
Warne said it was believed that the grandmother, took a bus and a taxi from El Monte to Knightsen and, while the parents were sleeping, snuck into their home and snatched the baby.
She then allegedly called another taxi and had the driver take her and the baby back to her house in Southern California, Warne added.
According to the parents, they had never given the grandmother permission to take the baby and initially had no reason to believe she had abducted her.
“I’m not going to lie to you, it was my mom,” the baby’s father Rudy Gallego told reporters following the police announcement of the arrest. “I think she just took a very big mental wrong turn.”
The break in the case came when El Monte police called the sheriff’s office and told them an acquaintance of the grandmother had reported that she was believed to have the baby who was reported missing.
More than 100 people from the sheriff’s office and a volunteer search-and-rescue team had looked for the girl before authorities found her with the grandmother.
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