Duke Hospital prevents baby snatching

Duke nurses detain suspect

Staff WriterApril 21, 2010 

— A Louisburg woman is accused of trying to steal a newborn from Duke Hospital's Birthing Center late Monday, but nurses sequestered her before she could leave.

Tanisha Weaver, 28, of Louisburg, is charged with felony abduction of a child.

The infant was unharmed and was never removed from her mother's room, said Kevin Sowers, president of Duke Hospital.

The mother had left the room for a moment, Sowers said. Nurses managed to detain Weaver until police arrived.

"This happened so quickly, and our staff responded so quickly. Hospitals across the country do drills around this all the time. Obviously, those drills paid off," he said.

It is unclear why Weaver had visited the birthing center Monday; she does not work at the hospital. Sowers said he doesn't know whether Weaver knew the family or had legitimate reason to be in the hospital.

Police and Duke University officials declined to discuss much about the investigation.

Weaver is in Durham County jail with bail set at $20,000. She was ordered to stay away from the baby and his mother.

She appears to have recently moved to Louisburg from New Jersey, according to court and real estate records.

Weaver ran into trouble with the law earlier this month, too.

A woman complained to police that Weaver held a knife to her throat. She is due in court next week on a misdemeanor assault with deadly weapon charge that stemmed from that incident.

Hospitals across the nation intensely monitor their labor and delivery units to guard against baby snatching. But they won't share details about their security practices.

"Suffice to say, our system worked," Sowers said.

Staff writer Stanley Chambers and news researcher David Raynor contributed to this report.

mandy.locke@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8927

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