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Police: Woman accused of abducting child from Tallahassee bus stop

Posted at 11:15 AM, Jul 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-18 11:17:54-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A Tallahassee woman has been arrested after being accused of abducting a six-month-old baby from a Tallahassee bus stop.

According to arrest documents, the Tallahassee Police Department received a report of the abduction on Wednesday. The reporting victim told police that her six-month-old daughter was abducted by another woman while they were at a bus stop across from the Kearney Center.

The victim said she was sitting at the bus stop with her baby when she lit a cigarette and began smoking it. That's when the victim said 55-year-old Wanda Williams approached her and asked to hold the baby while the victim smoked.

Under the impression that Williams was concerned about smoke near the baby, the victim allowed Williams to hold the child. Soon, documents say the bus approached.

However, the victim told investigators that Williams got onto the bus with the baby while she wasn't paying attention, leaving the area with the victim's child. When the victim became aware of what happened, she went inside the Kearney Center and asked for help. Documents say the staff reviewed the surveillance footage and turned the footage over to investigators.

According to the arrest documents, the bus Williams got on with the baby was quickly identified. Investigators say the bus was headed to a cooperative church with the Kearney Center more than eight miles away.

Officers then responded to the location and made contact with Williams and the baby, who appeared to be in good health. When they spoke to Williams, "she explained she was the grandmother of the baby and made arrangements with [the victim] to take the baby to breakfast."

However, when officers spoke to the victim and the father of the child, they told investigators that Williams was not a relative of theirs and didn't have permission to take the baby.

"Officers on scene with [Williams] were led to believe she may be confused or mentally ill as her statements were in direct contrast with that of the baby's parents," investigators wrote. "She did not know the correct name of the child's parents, although claiming to be [the victim's] mother."

Based on the evidence, Williams was arrested and transported to the Leon County Detention Facility where she is being charged with kidnapping a minor under 13 years old. The investigator who wrote the arrest report recommended that "the status of this case be closed, cleared by arrest."