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Santa Barbara baby-snatcher is mother of 4

March 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
More details have emerged about the woman arrested for allegedly kidnapping a newborn baby boy from Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Friday.The baby, named Julian, is safe with his parents.

Santa Barbara police say the suspect was quickly apprehended thanks to hospital surveillance video and the information of a witness.

Police say the woman, who was wearing pink hospital scrubs, is clearly visible in surveillance video. The bag she's seen carrying held the baby, say investigators.

Thirty-three-year-old Leianna Arzate is suspected of taking the five-hour-old newborn from the third-floor maternity ward of the hospital.

Police are also crediting a very observant witness with providing information that lead to the arrest, less than three hours after the kidnapping was discovered. Police say the male witness was having lunch at a Oak Park, blocks from the hospital. He told police he saw a woman stop her car quickly to change her clothes and change a baby's diaper.

His description and information lead authorities to Arzate's home on the 800 block of East Boone St. in Santa Maria, about 75 miles north of Santa Barbara.

At Arzate's home police found the newborn, unharmed. Arzate was taken into custody and the baby was returned to the hospital.

Police say they don't know why Arzate picked this baby.

Arzate is a graduate of San Marcos High School.

Arzate is a mother of four.


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