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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”. These women begin with a fantasy, a dream of being pregnant, and rather than wake up from that dream, they take someone else’s.
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. Summers continues by saying: "We still do not understand why this small group of perpetrators goes to the extreme of abducting a still pregnant woman and cut the infant from her body. My guess, and it is only a guess, is that the female abductor has found it difficult to abduct an infant from a health care facility, and is pressed for time."
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.
- 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, pregnant, and shopping 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, the 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.
- 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.
- 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 expecant 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. Two days later, Julie A. Corey, thirty-five, along with her boyfriend, Alex Dion, were arrested at a homeless shelter in Plymouth, N.H. The baby, Sheila Marie, weighed 4½ pounds and was in good health. Corey is being prosecuted for kidnapping charges.
- 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.
- Summers, Chris (27 October 2007). "The women who kill for babies". BBC News (London: BBC). Retrieved 11 October 2011. "A US jury has recommended the death penalty for a woman convicted of killing a pregnant stranger, cutting her abdomen open and stealing her unborn baby."
- "Cindy Ray - The Murder of Cindy Ray". about.com. 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
- "10 Cases of Fetal Abduction in the US". listverse.com. 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
- "The Case of Deborah Evans". about.com. 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 11 October 2011. "On November 16, 1995, in Addison, Illinois, Jacqueline Williams, 28, her boyfriend, Fedell Caffey, 22, and her cousin, Laverne Ward, 24, entered the home of Ward's ex-girlfriend, 28-year-old Deborah Evans."
- "Illinois Commutations". prodeathpenalty.com. 2010 [last update]. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
- Vernon J. Geberth (2009 [last update]). "Homicides Involving the Theft of a Fetus from a Pregnant Victim reprinted from Law and Order, Vol. 54, No. 3, March, 2006". practicalhomicide.com. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
- "1981604. - BURTON v. State. - AL Supreme Court". caselaw.findlaw.com. 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 11 October 2011. "Ex parte Angela BURTON. (Re Angela Burton v. State)."
- Usborne, David (16 December 1998). "Life sentence for ripping baby from womb - News - The Independent". The Independent (London: INM). ISSN 0951-9467. OCLC 185201487. Retrieved 11 October 2011. "AN ALABAMA woman has been sentenced to life imprisonment for killing a pregnant teenager and stealing the still-living foetus from her womb so she could pretend she was the child's mother. The decision disappointed prosecutors who were seeking the death penalty."
- "Alabama man convicted of kidnapping fetus". findarticles.com. 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 11 October 2011. "A jury in Tuscaloosa, AL, recently convicted a man of kidnapping a fetus from a murdered girl's body."
- "Margarita Flores Murder | Woman Convicted in Murder of Pregnant Mother Kills Self - [[Los Angeles Times]]". articles.latimes.com. 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 11 October 2011. "FRESNO — A woman convicted three days ago of killing a mother and unborn child committed suicide early Saturday in her one-person jail cell, saying the humiliation was too much to stand." Wikilink embedded in URL title (help)
- "Hughes County deputy had 2 of 13 similar cases | NewsOK.com". newsok.com. 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 11 October 2011. "Their move came shortly after a jury in Fresno, Calif., convicted Josefina Saldana of killing a pregnant Margarita Flores and cutting out her unborn son."
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- "[[Marshall Democrat-News]]: Obituaries: Carolyn Diane Simpson (12/30/03)". marshallnews.com. 2003 [last update]. Retrieved 11 October 2011. Wikilink embedded in URL title (help)
- "Slain Pregnant Woman Was 'Trusting' - [[ABC News]]". abcnews.go.com. 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 11 October 2011. Wikilink embedded in URL title (help)
- "Fetus-Snatching Murderer, Lisa Montgomery, Sentenced To Death". digitaljournal.com. 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 11 October 2011. "In 2004, Lisa Montgomery strangled a 23 year old pregnant woman, Bobbie Jo Stinnett, who was found in her home in Skidmore, Missouri, with her belly cut open and her unborn child missing."
- "Lisa Montgomery’s conviction upheld". 4law.co.il. 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 11 October 2011. "A federal appeals court panel today upheld Lisa Montgomery’s conviction in the 2004 slaying of Bobbie Jo Stinnett of Skidmore, Mo., and the kidnapping of Stinnett’s unborn child. A jury subsequently sentenced Montgomery, 43, to death."
- "Police: Ill. woman killed children with shotgun". thegrio.com. 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 11 October 2011. "An Illinois woman suspected in the shotgun deaths of her two youngest children was arrested in Missouri after allegedly hitting three pedestrians with her car near St. Louis' Gateway Arch, Illinois State Police said Thursday."
- "Illinois Women Gets Life in Prison for Murdering Pregnant Friend, Unborn Child Cut From the Womb, and Victim's Other Three Children". foxnews.com. 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 11 October 2011. "An Illinois woman pleaded guilty Monday to killing her pregnant friend, the unborn child and the victim's three children in a plea deal that allowed her to avoid the death penalty."
- "Kids of fetus-theft mom found dead". msnbc.msn.com. 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
- "The Murder of Araceli Camacho Gomez". about.com. 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 11 October 2011. "Araceli Camacho Gomez, 27, from Pasco, Washington, was the mother of two children and just two weeks away from giving birth to her son when she met Phiengchai Sisouvanh Synhavong at a bus stop on June 27, 2008."
- "Woman charged in death of eviscerated pregnant teen". cnn.com. 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 11 October 2011. "A Pennsylvania woman has been charged in the slaying of an 18-year-old woman who was found with her uterus cut open and her fetus removed, authorities said Sunday."
- "Andrea Curry-Demus gets life sentence for cutting baby from mother's womb". dailymail.co.uk (London). 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 11 October 2011. "A serial 'womb raider' will spend life in prison for killing a pregnant teenager she lured to her apartment, drugging her and cutting the child from the womb before trying to pass off the baby as her own."
- "Foetus cut from murdered US woman". BBC News. 29 July 2009.
- Mundy, Liza; Zapotosky, Matt (16 June 2010). "A pregnant woman escapes from the stranger who allegedly tried to take her baby". The Washington Post. Text "main" ignored (help); Text "dl1" ignored (help); Text "link4" ignored (help); Text "http%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtonpost.com%2Fwp-dyn%2Fcontent%2Farticle%2F2010%2F06%2F15%2FAR2010061504810.html%3Fsid%3DST2010061505462" ignored (help)
- Glynn, Casey (20 April 2011). "Police say killer of pregnant Ky. woman lured victim with a lie". CBS News.
- "PKy. woman faces life for cutting baby out of womb". CBS News. 17 February 2012.
- "Kathy Coy sentenced". WBKO. 2 March 2012.
- Muessig, Ben (10 October 2011). "Milwaukee Woman Rips Fetus From Mother, Killing 23-Year-Old And Unborn Child: Cops". The Huffington Post.
- Matovina, Laura (10 October 2011). "DA files charges in death of pregnant woman, unborn child". WDJT-TV.