Video: Abducted baby's family tell of ordeal

updated 9/20/2006 2:38:57 PM ET 2006-09-20T18:38:57

The woman who authorities say slashed the throat of a young mother and then stole her baby was charged Wednesday with kidnapping and assault and ordered held on $1 million bond.

Franklin County prosecutor Robert E. Parks filed the charges against the woman authorities previously identified as Shannon Beck. Court documents name her as Shannon Torrez, 36, of Lonedell, but note that she is also known as Shannon Beck.

Earlier Wednesday, Stephenie Ochsenbine cradled her newborn daughter and told a national TV audience she couldn’t describe the feeling.

“The last several days have been draining, just exhausting. But I can handle anything now,” the 21-year-old woman said on NBC’s “Today” show, her neck bandaged after her throat was slashed during Friday’s abduction.

Asked what it was like to have her baby, Abby, back in her arms, she replied: “It’s indescribable.”

“She belongs with me,” Ochsenbine told MSNBC. “We’re doing great now, we’re whole again and she’s very content, actually. Said father James Woods: “I just wanted to hug her.”

The suspect was arrested Tuesday after her sister-in-law, Dorothy Torrez, contacted authorities. Franklin County Sheriff Gary Toelke said she had recently miscarried a full-term fetus.

“She’s the hero,” Toelke said of Dorothy Torrez. “She’s the one that made it happen.”

Birthmark led to suspicions
Dorothy Torrez became suspicious when she noticed makeup on the forehead of the baby her sister-in-law was claiming to have delivered a few days earlier.

Authorities said she rubbed off the makeup and found a strawberry-red birthmark that matched the description provided by investigators who had been searching for the baby.

Video: Suspect arrested

She contacted police, and hours later a healthy 11-day-old Abigale Lynn Woods was reunited with her parents. Shannon Torrez was taken into custody.

Ochsenbine told police Friday a woman entered her rural home, attacked her with a knife and stole the baby, who was a week old at the time.

During the search for Abby, investigators had profiled the abductor as someone who had a child die recently or as someone who could not have children.

Shannon Torrez lives just a few miles from Ochsenbine’s home near Lonedell, FBI Special Agent Roland Corvington said.

The suspect told her sister-in-law on Sunday that she had given birth, the FBI agent said. Visiting Shannon Torrez the next day, Dorothy Torrez persuaded her sister-in-law to take the baby to see a doctor, and on Tuesday the two women went to St. Louis for that doctor’s visit.

Baby appeared well taken care of
That’s when she discovered the birthmark and confronted her sister-in-law, who gave her the baby. Abby was handed over to authorities at about 5 p.m.

“An outstanding ending, obviously,” Toelke said. “You talk about a lead breaking the case, and this was it.”

Health care officials said it appears Abby had been well cared for.

The small rural eastern Missouri communities near where Abby was abducted celebrated her safe return. The clerks at a convenience store in St. Clair drew a cardboard sign that said “Welcome home Abby.”

“We were upset and now we’re excited and we can’t even concentrate,” clerk Debbie Young said.

“It was a tear-jerking time for the whole town,” said Regina Hampson, manager of the only gas station in town.

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