TICKER: Woman steals, then abandons baby in elaborate pregnancy ruse

A Chicago woman has been accused of abducting and abandoning a baby girl in a fake pregnancy scheme designed to help her boyfriend in court, police said.

T’Keyah Williams, 19, of the 7300 block of South Yates Boulevard, was charged with one count of aggravated kidnapping and one misdemeanor count of endangering the life and health of a child, police said.

Police said Williams had designed a scheme to fake a pregnancy to help make the court sympathetic to a boyfriend who was facing drug charges, including using social media to tell friends about having a baby a downtown hospital. Police said that Williams had called a friend and said her parents had thrown her out of her home, and asked for a place to stay. Williams then went to her parents and told them she was attending a funeral, police said.

Williams attended services following the funeral Monday and then went to the residence of her friend, who is related to the mother of the abducted baby and lives in the same home, police said.

When the baby grew restless and began to cry, Williams offered help to the mother so the mother could sleep, said Melissa Stratton, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Police Department.

While the mother slept, Williams took off with the baby and all of the baby’s belongings, Stratton said. At some point, she apparently communicated via social media and text messages to people she knew that she had had a baby at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Stratton said.

Police were called about 7 a.m. to the 1600 block of East 74thStreet in the Grand Crossing neighborhood where the infant’s mother, an African national, reported her baby girl missing. The family told police that Williams was the last person seen with the child.

Officers issued a flash message over the police scanner with a description of Williams and the baby girl. Several officers canvassed the area, including Officer Naomi Gibson.

Gibson said at first, Williams was in contact with one of the detectives by cell phone.

“She refused to acknowledge she knew anything about the missing baby,” Gibson said. “I eventually spoke with her personally and she was adamant she didn’t know where the baby was, and she was very convincing.”

Williams’ father eventually drove his daughter to meet with police where she continued to mislead officers about the infant’s whereabouts, police said.

Williams, who was carrying a purse and a pink backpack with baby clothes inside, told officers she must have forgotten to give the items back to the mother, Gibson said.

“She had a sincere face. The kind you would see on TV,” Gibson said.

But parts of Williams’ story didn’t add up, Gibson said. She had told officers she was with her boyfriend the night before, but didn’t realize he had been arrested the same night.

The police, meanwhile, were searching for the baby, knocking door-to-door, asking neighbors for help. One woman told police she had given Williams a white plastic garbage bag to hold baby clothes she was carrying, Gibson said.

Police followed that lead to the area of the 6800 block of South Ridgeland Avenue, about a mile from the infant’s home. Gibson said at this point officers were emotionally drained with the thought that the baby was in a garbage can and possibly harmed.

“We all stood in a circle and were quiet,” Gibson said.  “We were about to break. We couldn’t wrap our minds around looking in garbage for a baby. It must have been God because no one said anything and then we heard a muffled cry.”

Officers found the baby behind a white garbage bag in a car seat with a blanket over her, Gibson said. The temperatures Tuesday at Midway Airport were as low as 26 degrees at 7:13 a.m. before rising to a high of 41 for the day. Stratton said the child was found about 10:40 a.m., and police believe the baby had been outside for about an hour.

“I hollered ‘Jesus,’ ” Gibson said of finding the infant.

When officers announced the discovery over police scanner radio, cheers erupted, Gibson said.

Gibson and her partner rushed the baby to Comer Children’s Hospital.  “All I could say is we got you now,” she said, adding that, without help from the community, the baby would have continued to be in danger.

Williams was charged Thursday, on her 19th birthday, and was ordered held in lieu of $50,000 bail, according to court records. She also was given a special condition of wearing an electronic monitor if she makes bond, records said.

The Chicago Tribune

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