A woman accused of disguising herself in scrubs and snatching a newborn from a Texas hospital was in custody in New Mexico on Monday, while the tiny girl was back in her mother's arms, police said.
Police found 4-day-old Mychael Darthard-Dawodu on Sunday in Clovis, N.M., a day after she was taken from Lubbock's Covenant Lakeside Hospital, about 100 miles to the southeast.
"We're ecstatic to be able to locate the child still in good health and to be able to reunite her with her mother," Lubbock police Lt. Scott Hudgens said.
An extradition hearing was scheduled Monday in Clovis for Rayshaun Parson, 21, who was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping. Federal charges also could be pursued, Hudgens said.
Mychael was flown back to her parents, Caisha Darthard and Michael A. Dawodu, after she was evaluated at a New Mexico hospital, Clovis police Lt. James Schoeffel said.
The 5-pound baby had earlier been reported to have jaundice, a common complication in newborns in which a buildup of pigment in the blood causes a yellowing of the skin.
Tip assists police
The infant was kidnapped early Saturday by a woman posing as a medical worker who walked out of Covenant Lakeside with the baby hidden in her purse, police said.
Hospital surveillance video showed a woman wearing blue and flower-print hospital scrubs and a gray, puffy jacket with a hood walking out of the hospital around 1:20 a.m. Saturday. She fled in a red pickup truck, possibly with a male accomplice, police said.
The abductor had gone into Mychael's mother's room several times before the baby was taken, telling her the baby needed tests, said Gwen Stafford, senior vice president of Covenant Health System.
FBI spokeswoman Lori Bailey said law enforcement officials received information from more than one source that the baby was in Clovis.
Police in Clovis conducted surveillance on an area pinpointed by at least one of the tips and found the baby in a home with an adult female early Sunday, Hudgens said. The suspect was found at another residence in Clovis, he said.
Will Larson, who lives near Parson's home, said he told police he had noticed her with a stroller on Saturday and thought that was unusual.
Phone numbers at Parson's Clovis address were disconnected Sunday.
Hospital security changes
Parson has had dealings with the law before. In May 2004, a protective order was issued against her in a domestic violence incident involving a boyfriend, according to New Mexico online court documents. A call to him was not immediately returned Sunday.
In January 2005, she was charged with fraud, according to the court documents. Information about the disposition of the case was unavailable Sunday.
Covenant Lakeside says it places identification bands on infants and parents immediately at birth and refers to "a number of other security measures" on its Web site.
"As soon as the baby and this security piece were separated we were alarmed and knew," Stafford said. "That's what enabled us to be able to get the visual of the pickup."
"Clearly we need to take security to a higher standard," she said. "We're not going to rest until we take it up a notch, another level. I don't know that we can ever have anything perfect."