Fetal abduction is the kidnapping of an unborn child by forcing a pregnant mother to comply with an early cesarean, and then taking the fetus directly from the mother’s womb. The mother is usually murdered, or does not survive the cesarean process. Depending on the age of the fetus, sometimes the child does not survive either.
Fetus abductions often happen at the hands of a friend, and are almost always done by a woman. According to “Abductions from the Womb”, an article by Dr. Marlene Dalley for the RCMP, “In most cases of fetus abduction, the abductor befriends the pregnant victim, all the while planning to kill her and extract the baby by Caesarean section, obviously risking the baby's health and life. Unlike infant abductions, the fetus abductor is so determined to give birth to a child that she actually acts out the fantasy of delivering the baby herself, rather than kidnapping one already born.” The abductors carried out such crimes because they felt a desire to form or strengthen a partner relationship and to live out a fantasy of their own of delivering a child. The people who commit such a crime are often unable to have children of their own or cannot get pregnant again. Pressed for time, they merely take advantage of another woman’s pregnancy. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s spokesperson, Cathy Nahirny, stated in 2007, “Many times the abductor fakes a pregnancy and when it is time to deliver the baby, must abduct someone else's child”.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
According to BBC News article, “The Women Who Kill for Babies” by Chris Summers (2007), “The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in Virginia says there have been nine fetus abductions or attempted abductions since 1987. That compares with 251 infant abductions between 1983 and September 2007.” The numbers have gradually been increasing since then.
Fetal abduction cases
- The first recorded fetal abduction happened in 1987 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Cindy Ray was eight months pregnant when she was kidnapped at Kirtland Air Force Base outside a prenatal clinic. Darci Pierce was nineteen years old when she strangled the pregnant woman to death. She used her car keys to open Ray’s womb, snatching the unharmed fetus, Millie. Millie survived, and Pierce was sentenced to 30 years to life for her crime.
- Deborah Evans was murdered in her apartment in Addison, Illinois. Jacqueline Williams, her boyfriend Fedell Caffey, and her cousin Lavern Ward went into Evans' home and shot her in the head. She had three children and was pregnant with a fourth. Two of Evans' children were murdered along with their mother. Evans' murderers then proceeded to cut through her womb with scissors and remove the fetus. One of the children, a baby boy, survived, as did the fetus. The three murderers were caught and sentenced to life in prison.
- In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, seventeen-year-old Carethia Curry was murdered by her friend, 29-year-old Felicia Scott. Curry was abducted by her friend on a night out. She was found three months later, stuffed in a garbage can at the bottom of a fifty-foot ravine with several gunshot wounds to the head, her torso sliced open. The baby girl Curry was carrying survived, and Scott was jailed for life.
- In Fresno, California, Margarita Flores was eight months pregnant when she received a phone call from Josephina Saldana, who offered her gifts of baby furniture and a free one-year supply of diapers for the expectant mother. Flores went to a warehouse to collect them and was murdered. Saldana was caught at a hospital the day afterwards carrying a dead fetus that she claimed to have just given birth to. After being found guilty, she was brought to prison. She did not live out her full sentence, hanging herself while in incarceration.
- Teresa Andrews lived in Ravenna, Ohio. She was twenty-three years old and pregnant when she ran into Michelle Bica. Bica was thirty-nine-years-old and was pretending to be pregnant at the time, and the two exchanged addresses. Then Bica started stalking Andrews. Bica invited the woman to her home, then killed her, extracted the fetus she was carrying, and buried the woman in her garage. The baby survived, and Bica claimed he was her son. When Bica was being investigated by the FBI, she became fearful of punishment for her crime and shot herself.
- Carolyn Simpson of Okemah, Oklahoma was twenty-one years old and six months pregnant when she was shot and killed. She worked at a casino, where her murderer, Effie Goodson, age thirty-seven, was a regular customer. Goodson offered to give Simpson a ride home, and Simpson was later found in a ditch two miles away from her abductor. The baby, removed from the mother’s womb three months early, did not survive. When Goodson brought the fetus to the hospital, the child was pronounced dead, and it was discovered that she was not the mother. Goodson was found unable to stand for a trial, and three years later was sentenced to life in prison.
- Bobbie Jo Stinnett died of strangulation at the age of twenty-three at the hands of thirty-seven-year-old Lisa M. Montgomery. The two had been in contact previously; they were both rat terrier breeders in a dog show circuit. Montgomery had even e-mailed the victim, telling her that she wished to purchase one of her dogs. Montgomery faked a pregnancy, and on December 16, she drove from her Kansas home to Skidmore, Missouri. After strangling Stinnett to death, Montgomery cut open her abdomen and took her one-month-premature daughter. An hour later, the victim’s mother found her body, and less than twenty-four hours later Victoria Jo Stinnett, the victim’s stolen fetus, was found healthy in Melvern, Kansas. Lisa Montgomery was incarcerated, and a jury subsequently sentenced Montgomery, 43, to death.
- Jimella Tunstall was murdered while pregnant in East St. Louis, Illinois by her childhood friend Tiffany Hall in 2006. She was knocked unconscious and her unborn baby was cut from her abdomen with a pair of scissors. Neither survived the attack. Tunstall's body was left in a vacant lot. Hall also drowned Tunstall's three children, ages one, two, and seven, and left their bodies in the washer and dryer machines in the family’s apartment. Hall plead guilty in 2008, and was sentenced to life in prison.
- Araceli Camacho Gomez of Kennewick, Washington, age twenty-seven, was stabbed to death by twenty-three-year-old Phiengchai Sisouvanh Synhavong. Gomez’s hands and feet were bound with yarn throughout the attack, and her fetus was cut from her womb with a box cutter. The child survived the vicious attack. Synhavong called the police for help and attempted to pass the fetus off as her own. It quickly became apparent to authorities that she was lying and guilty of the crime. Synhavong was sentenced in 2010 to life in prison without parole.
- Pregnant eighteen-year-old Kia Johnson was murdered in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania during a fetal abduction by Andrea Curry-Demus, who had previously spent eight years in prison for stabbing another expectant mother to obtain her unborn baby. Curry-Demus had also seized a child from a hospital. Johnson’s body was later found in Curry-Demus’s apartment. The baby survived.
- In Worcester, Massachusetts, the body of twenty-three-year-old Darlene Haynes was found; she was eight months pregnant, her fetus missing. “The fetus was not recovered at the scene and detectives are searching for this fetus, which, according to medical personnel, could survive but will need medical attention immediately”, police said. The baby, Sheila Marie, weighed 4½ pounds and was in good health. Two days later, Julie A. Corey, thirty-five, along with her boyfriend, Alex Dion, were arrested at a homeless shelter in Plymouth, N.H. A jury convicted Corey of Haynes' murder in February 2014.
- In Washington, DC, Teka Adams, homeless and nine months pregnant, was abducted by acquaintance Veronica Deramous. Deramous enlisted the help of her seventeen-year-old son to tie up Adams and hold her captive for four days. During those four days, Deramous attempted to extract the fetus. Adams was able to escape, barely clinging to life and severely injured. A neighbor called 911, and both Adams and the baby survived. The baby was named Miracle.
- In Bowling Green, Kentucky, Kathy Coy cut out Jamie Stice's fetus and left Stice to bleed to death on a rural road. Coy initially claimed she'd given birth to the baby five weeks premature, but doctors determined that the baby wasn't hers. Police found that Coy was friends on Facebook with Stice and another pregnant woman. The other woman was unharmed, but police grew suspicious when they couldn't find Stice. After intense questioning, Coy led police to Stice's body. Coy pleaded guilty but mentally ill to avoid the death penalty. In March 2012, she was sentenced to life imprisonment.
- In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Annette Morales-Rodriguez allegedly kidnapped Martiza Ramirez-Cruz, beat her to death and cut her fetus out of the womb. The fetus was just days away from being due. According to a criminal complaint, Morales-Rodriguez called police hours later to report that she'd just given birth in her shower and the baby wasn't breathing. The fetus was pronounced dead, and an autopsy determined the baby did not belong to Morales-Rodriguez.
- In Oakdale, Louisiana, Pamela Causey-Fregia allegedly killed pregnant Victoria Marie Perez with blunt force trauma. Causey tried to convince her husband, who was leaving her, that she was pregnant, despite her family believing she had a hysterectomy. She reportedly burned the body and buried it on her property. Causey's young children witnessed the alleged murder and alerted police in 2015.
- In Longmont, Colorado, 34-year-old Dynel Lane allegedly posted a Craigslist ad advertising baby clothes for sale. When the seven months pregnant 26-year-old Michelle Wilkins responded to the ad, Lane beat and stabbed her before removing the fetus from her body. According to police reports, Lane's husband had come home and she had claimed to have had a miscarriage. Her husband had found the baby in the bath tub and rolled it over and seen it gasping for air; he then took both Lane and the baby to the hospital. The baby was actually dead or died within minutes. This would seem to be an example of felonious, assault-inflicted fetal abduction (by cesarean section). Wilkins survived the attack and while in Lane's basement she was able to lock the door, call 911, and get medical assistance. Boulder County DA Stan Garnett said his office was still considering what charges to bring against Lane, noting, "Issues involving an unborn child are complicated under Colorado law". The 14 September 2015 episode of the Dr. Phil (TV series) interview of Michelle details Michelle's story as of then.
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