UK & World News

  • 28 May 2014, 19:09

Canada Facebook Plea Helps Find Newborn Girl

A newborn baby girl has been recovered after she was abducted from a hospital in Canada, thanks to an appeal on Facebook.

Melissa McMahon gave birth to baby Victoria in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, on Monday.

But, barely a day old, the newborn was snatched from hospital by a woman posing as a nurse who said she needed to weigh the baby.

An Amber Alert was issued within minutes of the baby's disappearance and local and social media was used to let people know what had happened.

The alert included a security camera photo of the suspect and a description of her car.

The Facebook appeal was spotted by Melizanne Bergeron who showed it to her friend, Charlene Plante, who realised the woman everyone was looking for was her neighbour.

Ms Bergeron said they spotted the vehicle described in the alert parked outside the building, saw signs that someone was inside and called police.

Together with two other friends, they guided police to the woman's home where, three hours after the abduction, officers broke down the door and found the baby safe and unharmed.

"Thirty seconds after, the baby was in the hands of the police," said Ms Bergeron, who touched Victoria as the officer cradling the infant walked past.

"It was the best moment in my life," she said. "We were crying."

A woman in her early 20s was arrested.

The baby's mother later posted: "Every click, every share made the difference.

"Four marvellous people, whom we had the chance to meet, identified this woman thanks to Facebook... We felt a huge amount of support from the public. This victory is for you, too!!!"

The four friends were asked to go to hospital to meet Victoria and her parents.

"The mother was crying and she was very happy," said Ms Plante. "I don't realise it (yet), I'm just a person like (anybody else) and I saved a life."

Ms McMahon, who also thanked hospital staff, police, the media and the public for helping find Victoria, called those hours without her baby the worst of her life.

"The powerlessness we felt in this situation was difficult to accept," she wrote, explaining how she had run after the woman toward the hospital exit after sensing something was wrong.

"The worst-possible scenarios were looping in our heads... To no longer have her in my arms after barely 16 hours of life was unreal."