Posted: 10:12 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012

19-year-old accused of trying to abduct infant from hospital

Twitter account shows tweets about pregnancy

    Naquelle Ballard
    Naquelle Ballard.


    Southern Regional Hospital photo
    Southern Regional Hospital
    Naquelle Ballard photo
    Naquelle Ballard


    The woman who Clayton County police say abducted a 2-day-old baby from a mother's arms in her hospital room was bragging about being pregnant on her Twitter account.

    Police arrested Naquelle Ballard, 19, and charged her with kidnapping and false imprisonment.

    That's after officers said she posed as a Southern Regional Hospital worker and tried to abduct a mother's newborn at the Women's Life Center around 9 Wednesday morning.

    "Naquelle did you try to steal the baby?" Channel 2's Tom Jones asked Ballard as she was led away in handcuffs from police headquarters to the Clayton County Jail. Ballard held her head down and never answered.

    Hospital officials said Ballard sneaked into the hospital and after she took the baby the infant alarm system went off.

    "The alarm went off and the two employees stopped the suspect," hospital spokeswoman Amanda Bartlett said.

    Bartlett said the employees managed to get the baby girl away from Ballard.

    Police said Ballard managed to leave the facility and get in her car and drive off. Police said witnesses jotted down her tag information and police were able to track her down.

    The allegations shocked one expectant mother at the center.

    "I think that's crazy. I've never heard of anybody actually doing that. I've just seen it on TV," Anden Christman said.

    The hospital said its employees conduct abduction alert drills twice a year and said it recently spent $180,000 to upgrade its infant alarm system.

    Bartlett applauded the excellent job by employees and the security system.

    "Everything came together. The baby never left the building and she is doing fine," Bartlett said.

    Police are looking at the hospital's surveillance system to try and figure out how Ballard got so close to the baby and the mother.

    Jones took a look at Ballard's Twitter page. On it there are recent tweets where she talks about her pregnancy.

    In one tweet she said, "I'm putting childish things away cause I got a baby on the way."

    She also tweeted, "This pregnancy is making my nerves bad. I need a blunt."

    Police said they will continue to talk to witnesses and Ballard's family to try and figure out what prompted Ballard to abduct the baby.

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