A California woman was arrested on kidnapping and child-stealing charges after she posed as a nurse, gained access to a hospital maternity ward and tried to steal a baby from a patient’s room, the authorities said.
The woman, Jesenea Miron, 23, was taken into custody on July 15, a day after the episode took place at the Riverside University Health System Medical Center in Moreno Valley, Calif., the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.
Deputies were summoned to the medical center on July 14 after employees notified them “of an individual impersonating a nurse on campus,” the authorities said.
During their investigation, the deputies learned that a woman, later identified as Ms. Miron, had entered the hospital “posing as a newly hired nurse” and gained access to the ward where newborn infants are looked after.
The woman “entered a patient’s hospital room and identified herself as a nurse,” the Sheriff’s Department said in its statement. “While inside the patient’s room, she attempted to take their newborn infant.”
Hospital employees confronted Ms. Miron and alerted security, the authorities said, but she fled before security guards or deputies were able to apprehend her.
Ms. Miron was taken into custody the next day, after the authorities executed a search warrant at a residence in Moreno Valley, a city of 211,000 about 71 miles east of Los Angeles. The authorities did not give a motive or say how they identified Ms. Miron as a suspect.
At the residence, investigators found “additional items of evidentiary value,” the Sheriff’s Department said. It was not immediately clear on Wednesday what those items were. Ms. Miron was being held at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning, Calif., according to inmate records. Her bail was set at $1 million.
Ms. Miron has a court appearance scheduled for Tuesday. It was not immediately clear if she had a lawyer.
In a statement, Jennifer Cruikshank, chief executive of the Riverside University Health System Medical Center, said the hospital system “has multiple layers of security to protect the safety and well-being of patients and staff.” She added, “We’re thankful those systems and our vigilant staff were able to thwart this suspect.”
It was not clear how Ms. Miron was able to gain access to the maternity ward.
Ms. Cruikshank said the health system was working with the Sheriff’s Department “to investigate how the suspect accessed the patient’s room and interacted with the family.”
Security protocols “have been reviewed and reinforced,” she added, “and we have additional sheriff’s deputies on campus.”