Wednesday, August 15 , 2018, 3:07 am | Fair 67º


Local News

Newborn Abducted from Cottage Hospital Reunited with Parents

Within hours of abduction, a suspect is arrested and the baby boy is rescued, with an assist from Santa Maria police

A newborn boy who was abducted from Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital around 1 p.m. Friday was located in Santa Maria and safely returned to his parents several hours later, Santa Barbara police said. The 7-pound, 20-inch baby named Julian was born just hours before he was taken from the hospital.

Leanna Arzate
Leanna Arzate

Police located and arrested Leanna Patricia Arzate, 33, after she was found with the infant. It is unknown whether Arzate has any relation to the baby. Hospital surveillance video showed a Hispanic woman in her 30s with a long ponytail leaving the hospital. She was described as wearing what could be scrub pants, a Betty Boop T-shirt and was carrying a silver purse to conceal the baby.

According to police, a 9-1-1 call from Cottage Hospital security reported that an infant had just been abducted minutes after a portable baby alarm had gone off. At 1:08 p.m., an Amber Alert was issued.

Detectives determined that Arzate was associated with a residence in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara police said in a statement. With the assistance of Santa Maria police, Arzate was arrested and the baby was safely rescued. Paramedics were on-scene and reported that the child appeared unharmed.

The hospital staff is relieved now that the baby has been reunited with his family, hospital spokeswoman Janet O’ Neill said.

“This hasn’t happened here in anyone’s memory,” said O’Neill, adding that the hospital will be evaluating its security system to prevent a recurrence.

Police are continuing to investigate the incident.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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