Woman accused in baby abduction arraigned
Police take Breona Moore, 19, of East McKeesport into custody on Thursday at the Investment Building on Fourth Avenue.
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A woman charged in the abduction of a newborn from Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC convinced her friends she had just had a baby, according to a criminal complaint in which detectives described her plan for the kidnapping.
Breona Moore, 19, of East McKeesport, was arraigned this morning on charges of concealing the whereabouts of a child, kidnapping, reckless endangerment and interfering with the custody of a child.
Ms. Moore also faces a count of falsely impersonating a privately employed person because she purchased hospital scrubs and pretended to be a nurse at Magee on Thursday afternoon before whisking the 3-day-old boy away from his parents.
A district judge set her bond at $250,000 and ordered her to undego an evaluation by the jail's behavioral clinic.
Ms. Moore appeared on a television screen, arms crossed and wearing the same black dress she had on when he was arrested. She said nothing except "Yes ma'am" to indicate she understood the charges against her.
Ms. Moore and the baby remained at large for more than four hours before police found them in a stairwell of the Investment Building on Fourth Avenue, Downtown. The building houses Allegheny County's Women, Infants and Children program as the Student Conservation Association on the 21st floor, where officers discovered the stroller. Police found her hiding in a closet.
Police said Ms. Moore took the baby, Bryce Coleman, through the front doors of the Oakland hospital, boarded a Port Authority bus and headed Downtown.
She told city police detectives she convinced those close to her that she was pregnant and due to have a C-section on Monday. She then told her friends the baby was sick and would be released on Thursday, according to the criminal complaint.
Wendy Zellner, UPMC spokeswoman, said in an email the health care system would have no further comment on the Magee incident today.
"As we said [Thursday], we are reviewing this event to see what improvements could be made in our security procedures," Ms. Zellner wrote.
Baby Bryce was in good condition and reunited with his parents at the hospital late Thursday. Ms. Moore uttered that she had "hurt" somebody and was responsible for "some parts" of the abduction as she entered police headquarters Thursday night but otherwise offered reporters few clues about why she took Bryce from his family.
Employees at the hospital had inklings that something was amiss when they saw Ms. Moore loitering in front of Room 2707 just before 2 p.m. An employee approached her and asked if she was going on or off duty because she didn't have a hospital ID badge on, the criminal complaint says.
She told the employee she was getting off duty. When a second employee approached, she said she was the sister of a patient in the room, and she was waiting to drive her sister home.
When the discharge nurse entered the room, Ms. Moore followed her.
Bryce's mother, Rhonda King, believed the woman was a nurses aide. Ms. Moore watched as the baby's and mother's security wrist bands were removed by the nurse, who then left the room. Ms. Moore approached Ms. King and took the child, telling her one more test was needed to be conducted on the boy and that she would return him right away.
Instead, police said, Ms. Moore spirited the boy into a secluded part of the hospital and placed him in a reddish-colored zippered handbag. She then left the hospital out the front doors.
Police and security guards swarmed the area, checking women's handbags and Parked vehicles when the kidnapping was discovered, the complaint says.
First Published August 24, 2012 7:37 am