Fake baby photographer drugged woman to steal newborn, detectives say

(Photo: Pierce County Sheriff's Department)

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. (KING5) — The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department has arrested a woman they say was posing as a baby photographer to steal a newborn and take it out of state to raise as her own.

The investigation began on Feb. 5 when a woman called 911 to report she was feeling numb, drowsy, throwing up and said she believed she had been drugged.

After being treated at the hospital, the woman called the sheriff's department and said she was drugged by a woman who had come to her house posing as a photographer to take photos of her baby, officials said.

The two women met through a newborn baby group on Facebook, where the suspect advertised free photos of babies to help build her portfolio, officials said.

The woman told detectives the suspect came to her house on three separate occasions to take photos. On the third time, the suspect brought her 16-year-old daughter along and the two offered the woman a cupcake to eat.

Officials said the woman reported feeling numb and drowsy immediately after eating the cupcake and then asked the suspect and her daughter to leave.

"When the whole thing unraveled her house keys were missing, she remembers her wiping prints down in the kitchen," explained Detective Ed Troyer with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department. "We were able to find through search warrants and communication through social media and texts a plot we put together that obviously shows she was attempting to find an infant to take out of state and raise as her own."

Troyer said after they began investigating they found additional victims that let the suspect come take photos of their infants, but so far no other reports of drugging.

Detectives arrested the 38-year-old suspect at her home in Graham on Friday. Her 16-year-old daughter was also arrested because sheriff officials said she was the one who gave the victim the cupcake.

The suspect has multiple aliases, according to officials. She was also involved in a bomb-making situation two years ago.

"It's turning out to be a very colorful background on our suspect," said Troyer.

She was booked into the Pierce County Jail on charges of assault and attempted kidnapping. Her daughter was booked into the Remann Hall Pierce County Juvenile Detention Center.

They are both expected to appear before a judge next Tuesday.

The sheriff's department is asking anyone who may have had contact with the suspect or know any information about the case to contact them.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Crime Stoppers purchased new door locks and window guards for the victim's home after the incident. Pierce County Sheriff deputies helped install them this week.

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