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Accused baby-napper undergoes mental exam

Posted April 23, 2010

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— The woman accused of trying to abduct an infant from a Duke University Hospital nursery underwent a mental evaluation Friday, according to her family.

Tanisha Weaver, 28, of 18 Shannon Road in Louisburg, is charged with abduction of children and was being held in the Durham County jail under a $100,000 bond.

Duke Hospital officials said a woman tried to take a newborn from her mother's room on Monday. Hospital staff recognized that the woman wasn't authorized to take the child, called police and detained her until investigators arrived, officials said.

Weaver's uncle, Anthony Alston, said the family hasn't had a chance to talk to her since her arrest. Her relatives are worried about her mental state and cannot explain the actions that led to the charges against her, he said.

“It has got to be a mental illness,” Alston said.

Weaver recently moved to Franklin County from New Jersey to be closer to family members, Alston said. Her son, who has sickle-cell anemia, is staying with relatives, he said.

A Durham County prosecutor said in court Wednesday that Weaver tried to steal the newborn for money or to settle a debt.

Alston said Weaver appeared not to have any financial troubles, noting she had a house, a car and a job.

Weaver was put on administrative leave at the beginning of April from her job at Academics Plus, a tutoring company, said Ken Benton, company president. He declined to provide the reason for the leave.

She had worked for the company since November, tutoring Franklinton Elementary School students in a supervised setting twice a week.

The suspension occurred the day before Weaver was charged with assault with a deadly weapon in Louisburg.

Police said she placed an online advertisement soliciting pregnant women for a calendar. When a woman tried to back out of participating in the calendar, Weaver pulled a knife on her, police said.

Authorities said Weaver also was planning to abduct an infant from Maria Parham Medical Center in Henderson.

A woman matching Weaver's description was acting suspiciously in the hospital last Saturday, officials said. The woman, who was dressed in surgical scrubs, passed herself off as a nursing student and was asking questions about the maternity ward, they said.

The woman was seen leaving the hospital with two unidentified people.


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