Some experts believe the extremely rare but highly disturbing crime of abducting babies in the womb is increasing in the U.S.
“Also known as cesarean kidnapping, it occurs when a woman desires a child so badly she is prepared to attack a mother-to-be and cut the baby from her womb, then try to pass it off as her own,” according to a report in The Guardian about the brutal trend.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported 18 cases of fetal abduction since 1983 in the U.S., but 14 have occurred in the past decade, according to The Guardian. Four additional attempts were foiled, the report states.
“This is the most extreme end of the crime of infant abduction, where more usually a woman tries to steal a newborn baby from a hospital or from the new mother in her home or out in public,” said Cathy Nahirny, senior analyst on infant abduction for the Washington-based group. “Occasionally, she will resort to this gruesome and horrific act of violence.”
LifeNews reported on two cases this year where women in New York and Colorado attacked pregnant women and then cut their unborn babies from the womb.
In November, the New York woman who was nearly 9-months pregnant died after a childhood friend cut her unborn baby from her womb in an attempt to pass the infant off as her own. Angelikque Sutton, 22, had been stabbed multiple times across her body Friday. Sutton visited 22-year-old Ashleigh Wade at her apartment, where police say Wade stabbed Sutton to death, and then carved her baby out of her stomach.
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Police say Wade had been telling people for months she was pregnant, even posting a baby registry and due date online. But police say she was never pregnant. Wade was reportedly friends with Sutton back in elementary school, and the two had reconnected before Wade invited Sutton to her apartment. That’s where police found Wade and Sutton’s body.
The unborn baby survived the attack and is reportedly in good health.
In the Colorado case, Dynel Catrece Lane was arrested after she attacked a pregnant woman and cut her 7-month-old unborn baby from her womb. In this unbelievable act of violence, the baby died but the victim, Michelle Wilkins, survived. A 911 recording shows the baby breathed a heavy last gasp before she died.
Tragically, in Wilkins’ case, she was the only victim recognized in the crime against her and her unborn baby. Criminals in Colorado, unlike most other states, can’t be charged with a second crime for killing or injuring unborn babies.
Experts told The Guardian that perpetrators sometimes fake their own pregnancy then target another pregnant woman and plan to steal her baby.
Theresa Porter, a Connecticut state forensic psychologist who specializes in female violence, said the crime often is not about “the maternal urge” but a narcissistic delusion by an “extreme con artist.”
Nahirny described the perpetrators as compulsive and manipulative power-seekers.
“The attacker presents herself to others as pregnant. And nine times out of 10, she is desperate to hold on to her man in a relationship that may be crumbling, so by producing a baby that he thinks is his, she will have some control over him – it’s a power play,” she said.