A Violent Trend Emerges
It is relatively rare for infants to be abducted by strangers. But it does happen. And recent analysis of abduction cases by the FBI suggests there are new and troubling trends for expectant parents to be aware of, including women kidnappers using violence to commit their crimes and social media to target their victims.
In April, for example, a 30-year-old Texas woman shot and killed a 28-year-old mother while kidnapping her three-day-old son from a pediatric center. The infant was recovered six hours later.
|Exercising Good Sense Online and at HomeMothers and fathers are understandably absorbed with their new babies, but they should still exercise caution and common sense when using social networking sites online:
– Make sure your online privacy settings do not allow strangers—and possible offenders—to gain access to personal information such as where you plan to be with your baby at a certain time or on a certain day. Inadequate privacy settings also allow others to track your movements using embedded information in pictures posted online.
– Our Crimes Against Children Unit suggests that new parents may not want to display the traditional pink or blue balloons outside their homes announcing a baby shower or a new arrival. “Doing so will advise random strangers that you have a new baby in the house or will soon,” said Intelligence Analyst Ashli-Jade Douglas.
– People in general and especially new and expectant mothers should be aware of their surroundings whenever they are out in public. “Is someone too interested in your pregnancy or your newborn, asking too many questions or sounding odd?” Douglas asked. “Those may be red flags.”
– Lastly, any type of incident or odd behavior should be reported to local authorities. “You may not think it’s important,” Douglas explained, “but that type of information allows us to track incidents and it could help prevent future abductions.”
“For the most part, women are no longer going into hospitals and dressing in nurse’s uniforms and walking out with children,” said Ashli-Jade Douglas, an FBI intelligence analyst who works in our Crimes Against Children Unit and specializes in child abduction matters. That’s because hospital security has greatly improved over the years.
A recent case illustrates the point: Last month, a woman entered a California hospital dressed in medical scrubs and abducted a newborn girl, hiding the baby in a bag. But when she attempted to walk out of the hospital, the baby’s security bracelet triggered an alarm and the woman was caught.
Because of heightened hospital security, Douglas said, “now women who desperately want a child—and are willing to go to extreme lengths to get one—have to gain direct contact with their victims, and that’s when things can turn violent.”
The women who commit these crimes are usually between the ages of 17 and 33,” said Douglas, who provides analytical support to our Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team. “Usually they are unable to get pregnant. Often, they will fake a pregnancy in the hopes of keeping a boyfriend or husband.” In most cases, she added, the women intend no harm to the infants—and maybe not even the mother. “They just want a child to raise as their own and will do anything to get one.”
|Podcast: FBI intelligence analyst discusses issue.|
Another emerging trend, Douglas said, is that women desperate for a child are turning to social networking websites to locate victims. “We have seen several recent cases involving social networking sites,” she explained, “and we see how easy it is to use these websites to gain access to targets.”
In January, for example, a 32-year-old Florida woman developed a friendship with a younger new mother through a social networking site. The woman lied about having her own newborn and claimed the child was sick and in the hospital. The victim invited the woman to spend the night at her house, and the next morning, when the victim was in the shower, the woman abducted her two-week-old infant. She then deleted her contact information from the victim’s social networking site, thinking she would not be found. The baby was recovered and the woman was arrested.
“Parents should check their privacy settings on social networking sites,” Douglas said, and they should always use caution on the Internet (see sidebar). Without the proper settings, pictures posted online can contain embedded information that allows others to track your movements.
“This information is important to share with parents,” Douglas said. “They should be aware of their physical surroundings and how they use the Internet. This can help protect mothers and their babies.”
Before you plan a baby shower you need to organise a foetus party. Apparently it’s a new trend! Come one, come all and bring your foetuses along to celebrate. Decadence has a charming side effect…its disgusting!
“However, I think the worrying trend towards the commercialisation of pregnancy and trend in ‘foetus parties’ can add to the burden and can increase the expectation for mothers which midwives then have to deal with.
“There is a worry that supposed diagnostic scans are now being used for entertainment. Across the country services for ‘foetus parties’ are popping up. There are companies across the country that provide gifts for parties featuring images of the foetus, from a fridge magnet for £3 to a teddy with 3D scan image for £15.
So what will people dream up next ?
A Merry Christmas to all my friend bloggers and email subscribers.
May love, peace and great happiness be the Christmas gift to you, your family and friends.
Thank you for following my posts.
Om Swastiastu Ibu Robin,
Congratulations to you and the team in Ubud and Aceh. I still remember the answer you gave me when I asked you if you believed there is a God. If you recall, you said, NO.
God has worked through you to sustain your belief that all life is sacred. May you continue your beautiful work in Indonesia, which has given you a home and many loving friends in Ubud and Aceh.
For the readers of this post here is a link that shines a light on this wonderful woman who I have the pleasure of knowing for many years. www.bumisehatbali.org
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om
Here is a videoclip created by us for the mantra “Sarvesham Svastir Bhavatu”, sung by Tina Turner. This is one of the most powerful songs from the new album “Children Beyond”. We used extracts from the “Children Beyond” documentary directed by Xaver Walser to create the clip.
The mantra means “May well-being, peace, wholeness and tranquility, happiness and prosperity be achieved by all”
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om
Dear Mom and Dad,
This is a thank you note on this day of my birth many years ago.
Thank you for bringing me into this world. Thank you for showing me all the beautiful things and helping me understand that Love, Faith and Hope are the three most important things. And yes how could I forget the compassion and tenacity that you instilled in me. Thank you for educating me.
Sorry Dad I have never grasped the concept of Maths. And Mom, I can never cook as well as you did!
Right now I can see you Dad sitting on a sofa with a Chota reading The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Mom in the kitchen preparing the Christmas goodies.
Merry Christmas Mom and Dad
Peace, Love and Little Cakes.
Your loving son
Ps: Chota is a peg of whisky. Peace, Love and Little Cakes is from a poem by Matthew Van Ortton