National News

Baby reported missing found safe, suspect arrested

Posted June 17, 2018 3:05 p.m. EDT

— Mobile Police said a seven-week-old child reported missing Saturday was found safe Sunday morning.

Officers said the baby, Christiana Hagler, was found at an apartment complex on Old Pascagoula Road.

Police said the mother of the child reported the girl missing after an incident at the Burlington store at Springdale Mall in Mobile.

The mother told police she was shopping at the store with 35-year-old John Betancourt, a stranger she had picked up on the I-65 Service Road earlier in the day. Officers said the mother was stopped by Burlington employees for possibly shoplifting. While she was detained, officers said the mother told Betancourt to take the seven-week-old baby to her vehicle.

Officers said Burlington let the mother go after 15 minutes and no shoplifting charges were filed. When she went into the parking lot, her vehicle, her child, and Bettencourt were gone.

An AMBER Alert for the child and the mother's 2003 Cadillac Escalade was issued around 10 p.m. Saturday.

Mobile Police said they received a tip Sunday morning that the vehicle was parked at an apartment complex on Old Pascagoula Road in Theodore. Officers went door to door at the complex until they located the baby and John Betancourt.

Betancourt was arrested and charged with interference with custody. Officers said he was not charged with kidnapping because the mother gave Betancourt custody the child when she stayed inside the store.