Toronto Sun

Thursday, August 15, 2002

Kidnapped baby safe

By AP
Toronto Sun

ABILENE, Tex. -- A month-old infant who was snatched from her family's minivan by a woman in a Wal-Mart parking lot was found safe and unharmed yesterday about 200 km away, authorities said. A former prison guard was charged with kidnapping.

The recovery of little Nancy Crystal Chavez was the "answer to a lot of prayers," police Sgt. Kim Vickers said. "Every indication, every information that I have is that that baby's in perfect health."

Nancy was found in Quanah, a West Texas town about 200 km north of Abilene, when a sheriff's deputy stopped a car that matched the description provided by the first statewide Amber Alert, a media-driven warning system used to track down missing children.

SUSPECT IN CUSTODY

Police said the suspect, Paula Lynn Roach, 24, was being held on a charge of aggravated kidnapping. Police did not offer a motive.

James Duke, warden at the Robertson prison unit in Abilene, said the suspect worked as a corrections officer for about 20 months before resigning in September 2000.

Police said Margarita Chavez had finished shopping Tuesday afternoon and had placed her three children -- Nancy, a two-year-old and a six-year-old, -- in the minivan. She stepped about three metres away to return a shopping cart, then saw a woman pulling her infant into another car.

The mother desperately tried to stop the getaway car and was dragged more than 10 metres in the parking lot.

Copyright © 2002, Canoe, a division of Netgraphe Inc.