A 34-year-old woman was sentenced to an effective six years in prison for the kidnapping of a baby 10 years ago. The woman was sentenced in the Empangeni Regional Court in Kwazulu Natal (KZN) this week after she pleaded guilty to the kidnapping.
The biological mother was only 16 years old and her baby boy one week old at the time of the kidnapping in July 2011. The child has since been reunited with his mother.
KZN National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Natasha Kara said in a statement on Friday, 16 April, that the suspect approached the young mother after seeing baby clothes hanging on the washing line at the time of the incident.
KIDNAPPER PRETENDED TO WORK FOR GOVERNMENT
The young mother, whose parents were away in Johannesburg at the time, was under the guardianship of a neighbour.
According to Kara, the kidnapper pretended to work for a government department and offered to assist the teenager in obtaining a birth certificate for her baby.
“Since the young mother did not have an ID and her new baby did not have a birth certificate, the accused convinced the guardian to allow her to take them into the Jozini CBD.”
When the three arrived in town, the accused gave the teenager money to buy food while she promised to watch over the baby.
“Even though the young mother was reluctant, she left the baby with the accused and went into the shop. As soon as the mother was out of sight, the accused fled with the child, taking him to Johannesburg,” said Kara.
CHILD’S PATERNITY CAME INTO QUESTION YEARS LATER
In a stroke of luck, the child’s paternity came into question nine years later when the kidnapper separated from her boyfriend.
“The accused said she stole the baby because she loved children and did not have any of her own,” said Kara.
In a victim impact statement, the biological mother said she cried for days without eating or sleeping after her baby went missing.
“She looked for him everywhere and every time she heard a baby boy was found somewhere, she and her family would rush to see if it wasn’t her baby,” added Kara.
The Director of Public Prosecutions in KZN, Advocate Elaine Zungu, welcomed the conviction and sentencing of the kidnapper.
“We are glad that the child was returned safely to his mother, albeit so many years later. This matter, especially the Victim Impact Statement compiled by the mother, shows the effect of such crimes on the family of those affected. The baby’s mother had a harrowing experience,” she said.
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