Melissa McMahon and Simon Boisclair

Melissa McMahon and Simon Boisclair

Mom of abducted day-old baby thanks social media for helping find infant

The mother of a day-old infant snatched from a Quebec hospital says she’s grateful to everyone who helped bring home her baby — especially the group of people who used social media to hunt down the alleged kidnapper.

MONTREAL — The mother of a day-old infant snatched from a Quebec hospital says she’s grateful to everyone who helped bring home her baby — especially the group of people who used social media to hunt down the alleged kidnapper.

Police issued an Amber Alert on Monday night after the newborn was abducted from the mother’s hospital room in Trois-Rivieres by a woman allegedly wearing scrubs and posing as a nurse.

The alert, which included a security-camera photo of the suspect and a description of her car, was splashed across mainstream and social media within minutes.

Four young locals wasted little time picking up the cause and guided police to the woman’s home, where officers found the baby safe and sound three hours later. Police also arrested a woman in her early 20s in connection with the kidnapping.

“Every click, every share made the difference,” Melissa McMahon, the infant’s mother, wrote Tuesday in a post on her Facebook page.

“Four marvellous people, whom we had the chance to meet, identified this woman thanks to Facebook … We felt a huge amount of support from the public. This victory is for you, too!!!”

The online detectives who helped find baby Victoria were identified as Charlene Plante, Marc-Andre Cote, Sharelle Bergeron and Melizanne Bergeron.

Melizanne Bergeron told reporters Tuesday in Trois-Rivieres that she came across the information about the kidnapping on Facebook and showed the photo of the suspect to her friend Plante, who realized the woman was her neighbour.

She said they spotted the vehicle described in the alert parked outside the building, saw signs that someone was inside and called police. Officers, she added, arrived on the scene quickly and broke down the woman’s door.

“Thirty seconds after, the baby was in the hands of the police,” said Melizanne Bergeron, who touched Victoria as the officer cradling her walked past.

“It was the best moment in my life. We were crying.”

Plante told reporters they went with police to the hospital, where McMahon and her spouse, Simon Boisclair, asked to meet the people who had helped rescue Victoria.

“The mother was crying and she was very happy,” said Plante, who received hugs and kisses in exchange for her sleuth-like work.

“I don’t realize it (yet), I’m just a person like (anybody else) and I saved a life.”

Asked if they considered themselves heroes, Melizanne Bergeron replied, “Yes, we are,” before saying most of the credit should go to Plante for recognizing the woman.

“It was a very big night,” said Melizanne Bergeron, who also posted a video Tuesday on her Facebook page of young women crying as they greeted a police officer carrying a tiny, blanket-wrapped baby.

“An evening rich in emotions,” read the video caption.

McMahon, who also thanked hospital staff, police, the media and the public for helping find Victoria, called those hours without her infant the worst of her life.

She and Boisclair posted a photo of themselves Tuesday holding Victoria.

“The powerlessness we felt in this situation was difficult to accept,” wrote McMahon, who said she sprinted after the woman toward the hospital exit after sensing something was wrong.

“The worst-possible scenarios were looping in our heads … To no longer have her in my arms after barely 16 hours of life was unreal.”

McMahon said patients and visitors near the door provided information about the suspect and her vehicle, described in the Amber Alert as a red Toyota Yaris hatchback with a “Baby on Board” sticker on the rear window.

Quebec provincial police Sgt. Claude Denis said it was too early to say whether the suspect would be arraigned Tuesday.

Possible criminal charges include kidnapping, Denis said.

“The suspect is in hospital right now and investigators will meet her when her condition allows for that,” he said in an interview.

He said a woman was dressed as a nurse when she entered the hospital room.

“She left the room with a little girl she had wrapped in a blanket,” Denis added.

Plante said she had seen police at the woman’s home in the past, but she did not know why.

A 2008 RCMP background document on infant abduction at Canadian maternity wards said this type of kidnapping was rare, but that such incidents have happened over the years.

The paper stated the cases led to training sessions for hospital employees to improve security. It said hospital staffers must remain on “high alert” and prepared to handle such an incident.

“The typical hospital abduction may involve a stranger,” says the document, produced by the RCMP’s National Missing Children Services.

“These persons sometimes pose as an employee, nurse or relative in order to gain access to the baby … The abductors are usually females who really want a baby of their own.”

McMahon urged parents to check a nurse’s badge and to always ask questions. She told the 98.5 FM radio station the suspect told her she needed to take Victoria to be weighed.

The mom said she wouldn’t have Victoria in her arms today without the help of the thousands of people who rapidly shared the Amber Alert and the photo of the suspect on social media.

McMahon asked that the public spread her latest message: “Thanks again and share one more time, please.”

Just Posted

(Image from Council of Canadians)
Council of Canadians hold coal mining information rally

Event to take place at City Hall Park at 1 p.m. on Friday

Red Deer respiratory therapist Sarah MacKenzie was among the first central Alberta health professionals to receive the Pfizer vaccine in December 2020. Since then, nearly 3.4 million doses have been administered and COVID cases are falling rapidly. Photo by Alberta Health Services
Red Deer COVID cases continue to fall sharply

Red Deer cases almost into the double digits after topping more than 900 only five weeks ago

(Advocate file photo.)
Red Deer city council discusses strategies to restore integrated emergency dispatching

Red Deer city councillors discussed additional ways on Tuesday to try to… Continue reading

Local developers who are doing building upgrades or new construction will face less land servicing costs and gain some flexibility. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta (44) celebrates with defenseman Victor Hedman (77) after Rutta scored against the New York Islanders during the third period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Kucherov shines, Lightning beat Islanders 4-2 in Game 2

Lightning 4 Islanders 2 (Series tied 2-2) TAMPA, Fla. — Brayden Point… Continue reading

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) shoots as Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton (24) defends during the fourth quarter of Game 5 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Durant’s sensational performance sends Nets to 3-2 lead

Nets 114 Bucks 108 (Brooklyn leads series 3-2) NEW YORK (AP) —… Continue reading

New York Yankees starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery throws to a Toronto Blue Jays batter during the first inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
Frazier snaps tie, Yankees come back to beat Blue Jays 6-5

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Clint Frazier snapped an eighth-inning tie with a pinch-hit… Continue reading

The Pornhub website is shown on a computer screen in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. Pornhub says it has removed all content uploaded by non-verified users. The sex website faced accusations it hosted illegal content. The company, which is owned by Montreal-based Mindgeek, says it has suspended all previously uploaded content that was not created by one of its content partners or members of its Model Program. THE CANADIAN PRESS
International women’s rights advocates call on Canada to hold Pornhub to account

Jeanette Westbrook says being sexually abused as a child will haunt her… Continue reading

FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2021 file photo, transporters Miguel Lopez, right, Noe Meza prepare to move a body of a COVID-19 victim to a morgue at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles. The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 has topped 600,000, even as the vaccination drive has drastically slashed daily cases and deaths and allowed the country to emerge from the gloom. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
US COVID-19 deaths hit 600,000, equal to yearly cancer toll

The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 topped 600,000 on Tuesday, even as… Continue reading

FILE - In this April 1, 2019 file photo, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry talks about health care legislation he's backing in the upcoming session, in Baton Rouge, La. The Biden administration’s suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal land and water was blocked Tuesday by a federal judge in Louisiana. U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty's ruling came in a lawsuit filed in March by Louisiana’s Republican attorney general, Jeff Landry and officials in 12 other states. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte, File)
Federal judge blocks Biden’s pause on new oil, gas leases

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Biden administration’s suspension of new oil and… Continue reading

Israeli police officers detain a Palestinian man during clashes that erupted ahead of a planned march by Jewish ultranationalists through east Jerusalem, outside Jerusalem's Old City, Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
Israelis march in east Jerusalem in test for new government

JERUSALEM (AP) — Hundreds of Israeli ultranationalists, some chanting “Death to Arabs,”… Continue reading

Montreal Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher (11) vies for the puck with Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (7) during the third period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Vets Pietrangelo, Perry contributing for Vegas, Montreal

LAS VEGAS — Alex Pietrangelo and Corey Perry had very different free… Continue reading

Most Read