Less than three hours after a one-day-old baby was kidnapped from Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, police were able to locate the baby in Santa Maria and bring it to safety.
The 20-inch-tall, seven-pound baby named Julian was found in a Santa Maria residence with the suspect, 33-year-old Leianna Arzate, who was arrested at the scene, according to Santa Barbara Police Sgt. Charles McChesney. He didn’t know how police were able to track down the infant so quickly, but said that following up on leads led authorities to the home. An ambulance was on scene to treat the child, but the baby appeared to be fine.
McChesney didn’t know Arzate’s relation to the family of the newborn, if there was one. The mother of the child was still recovering from the birth at the hospital when the abduction took place. The hospital was put on lock-down once it was realized the male baby had been taken from the third floor maternity ward.
Surveillance footage showed Arzate getting into a car and captured the license plate number. Authorities believe the woman carried the baby out in a bag.