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Prosecutor: Accused baby-napper made earlier attempt

Posted April 21, 2010
Updated April 22, 2010

— A woman accused of trying to abduct an infant from a Duke University Hospital nursery planned a similar crime in Henderson, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Tanisha Weaver, 28, of 18 Shannon Road in Louisburg, is charged with abduction of children. District Judge Brian Wilks raised her bond from $20,000 to $100,000 because of the new allegations against her.

Sign for Maria Parham Medical Center in Henderson Woman cased Henderson hospital for abduction

Duke Hospital officials said a woman tried to take a newborn Monday afternoon from the hospital's North Ancillary, at 2301 Erwin Road. Hospital staff recognized that the woman wasn't authorized to take the child, called police and detained her until investigators arrived, officials said.

The baby and her mother were fine, officials said.

”This was not a situation where we are talking about a parental abduction,” Assistant Durham County District Attorney Jim Dornfried said in court Wednesday. ”We really believe that this a situation of a child being stolen.”

As part of an elaborate ruse to get the mother out of the hospital room, Dornfried said, Weaver bought balloons and a gift card from the hospital gift shop, then told the mother that she would stay with the infant while the mother attended a special luncheon in the hospital cafeteria.

After the mother left, the baby's ankle bracelet was cut off, triggering an alarm and prompting nurses to detain Weaver, the prosecutor said. She was carrying a bag containing a change of clothes for a newborn girl, he said.

Weaver gave conflicting information to police about why she was in the hospital and had taken the baby, Dornfried said, and officers found a text message on her phone from earlier in the day that said, "Can't wait to see you and the baby tonight."

Dornfried said Weaver last week surveyed Parham Medical Center in Henderson in an effort to steal a child. He said hospital security officials contacted investigators Tuesday after seeing media reports of Weaver's arrest to report that she had donned surgical scrubs at that hospital and tried to pass herself off as a nursing student.

"She was asking questions about security, where the exits were located and ways to the maternity ward,” Dornfried said.

Maria Parham spokesman David Ruggles said the woman's suspicious behavior last Saturday attracted the attention of hospital security, prompting her to leave. Security video shows her leaving with two unidentified people, he said.

"At no time was an infant or mother ... ever confronted or touched by Ms. Weaver during this incident," Ruggles said in a statement.

Neighbor: Accused baby-napper claimed to be pregnant Neighbor: Woman claimed to be pregnant

Weaver’s neighbor Kawana Jones said for several months, Weaver pretended to be pregnant. Jones said her children saw baby clothes, bottles and even a stroller inside of Weaver’s home.

"I asked her when the baby was due and she said April 17," Jones said.

Last Friday, Weaver asked Jones to babysit her little boy because she said she was going into the hospital to have a baby.

Jones said when Weaver showed up the next day without a baby, she felt something wasn't right.

"She said, 'Well, I signed myself out,'" Jones said. "And I got to thinking, you signed yourself out?"

She said Weaver told her the baby was in intensive care with some type of respiratory problem, but would be released Monday.

Jones said Weaver even showed them pictures of a baby and acted as if she were suffering pain from giving birth.

Jones said on Monday, Weaver asked her to take her to Duke Hospital. Jones says she came up with an excuse not to give Weaver a ride because she felt something wasn't right.

Now, Jones said she is relieved she followed her instincts.

Jones said she especially feels for Weaver's son, who came home from school Monday to an empty house.

Duke University spokesman Keith Lawrence said the Monday incident at the Durham hospital remains under investigation, and no one else has been charged yet.

Dornfried said Weaver finally indicated to Duke investigators that she was trying to get a baby because she owed someone money.

"This is a stranger shopping for a child,” he said. "This is a baby to steal for profit or to satisfy a debt.”

A public defender who represented Weaver during the court hearing Wednesday asked Wilks to keep Weaver's bond at $20,000, saying she has no criminal record and needed to get out of jail to care for a sick child at home.

Weaver's uncle Anthony Q. Alston Sr., said his niece moved to Louisburg two months ago from New Jersey.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Apr 22, 2010

    She's destined for a mental facility in Butner.

  • kbow80 Apr 22, 2010

    OK so now they need to find the trash that was willing to take the baby to pay off the debt. They are trash as well if they are willing to take a child for a debt. I wonder if she really owes someone. This sounds like she told someone she was pregnant because she wants to be with them and she is not so, she had to find a baby. I don't understand how she got into the maternity ward. When my son was at Duke in the NICU, we had to show identification when coming in. Maybe the regular maternity ward is different. It's a good thing that baby bracelet was on because in some cases they are removed when the child is with the mother.

  • ncouterbanks69 Apr 22, 2010

    Most intelligent post on here EVER. And unfortunately probably the most accurate. You couldn’t have put it better. Here’s my thing….where’s MY free money? Oh wait, I work for a living so that other people can have theirs. Oh well, I guess I better get back to work before someone’s MD 20/20 isn’t “earned.”

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Apr 22, 2010

    Get a dog!

  • sfate61 Apr 22, 2010

    She SAYS she has a sick child at home... She might not, and her lawyer may be looking to use that as a "Get Out of Jail Free" (or reduced bond) card.

    I agree. The neighbor was interviewed and said when the little boy came home from school....now don't get me wrong, but if the child was sick, why was he in school.

  • coffeecup Apr 22, 2010

    No one said they demanded a baby as payment. They just demanded payment. Chances are, the ignorant u-no-what had no idea how to turn the baby into cash.

  • todmax Apr 22, 2010

    I hope that not only this lady gets the time she deserves, but that she helps expose those who were demanding a baby as payment.

  • lovethecrazycomment Apr 21, 2010

    You got it all wrong. Here actions are called "entitlement". Somebody else got one she got the right to take it. Obama plan at work. aintbackingdwn

    Oh please, is there anything you people will not blame Obama for?

  • grimreaper Apr 21, 2010

    I sure she was:
    Abused as a child.
    Suffering from depression.
    yada yada yada.

  • Suasponte Apr 21, 2010

    Dear OGE,
    "Wow! The Death Penalty NICE! May be we should go back to cutting off hands of children who steal candy too."

    That would be a good start.