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Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 11:28 pm | Fair 47º


Woman Gets 11-Year Sentence in Hospital Kidnapping

Santa Maria mother pleads guilty to taking a newborn from Cottage maternity ward

Leianna Arzate
Leianna Arzate

A Santa Maria woman who kidnapped a newborn infant from Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital pleaded guilty Friday to kidnapping and first-degree residential burglary. Leianna Patricia Arzate, 33, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for the crimes.

Arzate was arrested Feb. 27 after allegedly kidnapping the newborn, who was approximately 5 hours old when he was taken from his mother’s arms in the hospital’s maternity ward. Santa Barbara police and witnesses say Arzate dressed as a nursing staffer and smuggled the infant out of the hospital in a large purse. She was arrested hours later at a residence in Santa Maria and the baby, named Julian, was safely reunited with his parents about seven hours after he was taken.

The baby and his mother were discharged from the hospital the next day. There was no prior relationship between the baby’s family and Arzate, who has four children of her own.

Under the terms of her sentencing, Arzate must serve at least 85 percent of her 11-year sentence, prosecutors said Friday. Arzate also admitted violating her probation related to two prior convictions.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk.

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