A baby abducted as her father prepared her bottle was found safe Sunday, after an observant Muni driver spotted the missing child with her alleged kidnapper.
San Francisco Police Department spokesperson Officer Robert Rueca says that terrifying situation began at 8:54 a.m. Sunday. Rueca says that it was then that an "infant female was removed from [her] father's parked vehicle" as her father was preparing "a bottle to feed her a short distance from the vehicle."
This was on Sherman Street, a short alley that runs along SoMa's Victoria Manalo Draves Park. Rueca says that a family outing to the park was planned, as the abducted child's "mother was on her way to meet her husband and her baby at the park" when the kidnapping occurred.
“A couple here at the park decided to get some water for the baby formula and left the baby in the car seat,” area Supervisor Jane Kim told CBS 5.
CBS 5 spoke to a park maintenance worker, who said that following the kidnapping the father "was sobbing and walking up and down the street...He was blaming himself for losing track of the baby. Because I guess he had went somewhere for just a minute and when he came back the baby was gone.”
Rueca says that an eyewitness spotted the baby's abductor boarding a Muni vehicle with the child, and "a city-wide alert" was issued regarding the missing baby and suspect.
NBC Bay Area reports that the woman first "hopped on a Muni express bus that took her and the baby to San Bruno and Felton streets, where she got off and was spotted by a Walgreens manager."
Shortly thereafter, a Muni operator who'd received the alert spotted the suspect and infant on a bus near the intersection of Bayshore Boulevard and Arleta Avenue, Rueca says.
SFMTA Spokesperson Paul Rose. tells ABC 7 that "Our operators are trained to respond to emergency situations like these and these operators did just that." ABC 7 reports that when the bus driver stopped the bus, the woman got off that one, then boarded another one, which also stopped. Meanwhile, officers were headed to the scene, Rueca says, and "detained the suspect who was in possession of the infant."
ABC 7, which was at the scene of the arrest, asked the woman "if she kidnapped a baby." "She said no," they report.
As a precaution, the baby, who Rueca says is less than a year old, was transported to an area hospital, but no injuries were reported. She was reunited with her family a short time later.
The 36-year-old suspect, who Rueca says is not being identified by police at this time, was arrested and was booked for kidnapping. According to ABC 7, "SFMTA's spokesperson says they've turned over surveillance video from the Muni buses to police."
Rueca says that police are investigating any possible relationship between the suspect and the family, in an effort to determine any motive for the kidnapping. He asks that anyone with information on the case call the SFPD Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the text message with SFPD.