Police Allege California Woman Impersonated a Social Worker and Attempted to Kidnap a Week-Old Infant
The suspect allegedly showed up at a Santa Ana home and said she was there to remove the baby from his home; authorities say she has since been arrested.
SANTA ANA, CA — A 38-year-old woman has been booked on suspicion of attempted kidnapping after she allegedly posed as a social worker and tried to remove a one-week-old infant from his home, according to the Santa Ana Police Department.
Authorities say the woman, who identified herself to the mother of the newborn as Mayella Ortega, allegedly knocked on the front door of the new mother’s home on Friday and announced that she had orders to take the mom’s baby into protective custody.
The mother, who has asked to remain anonymous, told police that when she asked Ortega to show her identification, Ortega allegedly threatened to come back with officers from the sheriff’s department to remove the child by force.
In an interview with KABC, the mother said, “I told her if the sheriff comes and he has to arrest me, then he can arrest me. But I am not going to give you my child.”
Reportedly, then, Ortega walked away while the mother and her sisters took cellphone video of her before she departed in a white SUV.
Immediately afterward, the mother said she contacted the authorities. Social Services claimed no one by the name Mayella Ortega works for the agency. Police released the cellphone video and announced they were looking for the woman in the footage.
On Saturday, police stated that the suspect had turned herself in, and had been arrested and booked.
Detectives in concurrence @OCDAToddSpitzer booked 38yo Santa Ana female Hispanic for attempted kidnapping re: yesterday’s incident. Name & booking photo won’t be released. #SAPD detectives working w/ detectives from @LASDHQ & @sbcountysheriff on possibly related investigations— SantaAnaPD (@SantaAnaPD) June 8, 2019
Santa Ana Police Department Cpl. Anthony Bertagna told the press, “How did this woman know that this victim had a child less than two weeks ago, where she lives? How’d she get her personal information? That’s all scary to us.”
In addition, Bertagna said that any time Social Services is required to remove a child, law enforcement officers would accompany the worker.