• Kidnapped baby placed in state custody after rescue

    By: Tom Regan


    BARTOW COUNTY, Ga. - The 8-month-old baby who was kidnapped this week was turned over to the Bartow County Department of Family and Children's Service and his mother, Kristen Howard, will have to appear at a custody hearing before she can get him back.

    "We caught her in a couple of flat-out non-truths, wasn't telling the truth on a couple of things, and then just her actions," said Bartow County Sheriff Clark Millsap. "In our opinion, she was more concerned about her car and what was going to happen to it than what was going to actually happen to the child."

    Authorities said the baby was kidnapped by a friend of the mother while at her Acworth home Tuesday night. The alleged kidnapper, 22-year-old Samantha Barrett left with the child in Howard's car. Police issued an Amber Alert for a child abduction.

    The stolen vehicle was spotted on I-75 in Henry County. Following a high-speed chase, the driver, Barrett, crashed in Lamar and was arrested. The baby, Kaidyn Stover, was found unharmed in the vehicle.

    Police charged Barrett with fleeing and attempting to elude, cruelty to children, reckless conduct and driving with a suspended license. She is also facing kidnapping charges in Bartow County. Barrett made her first court appearance in the Henry County jail and requested a court-appointed attorney.

    One motorist found himself in the middle of the police pursuit after the stolen car, with the baby inside, swerved in front of his car.

    "At that point, I didn't know if the child was injured, what her plans were, her intentions," said Shaun Spears. "When

    I had them (911 dispatcher) on the phone, I looked down at my speedometer. I was running 85 and she was pulling away from me."

    Spears said he's glad to hear the child was not hurt.

    "I've got kids of my own. That's the first thing that goes through your head when something bad like that happens. What if the kid was yours?" said Spears.

    The custody hearing is scheduled for tomorrow in Bartow County Juvenile Court, and a judge will decide whether to return the baby to his mother.

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