A woman who allegedly posed as a social worker and tried to kidnap a newborn baby from his mother in Santa Ana last month has been charged, prosecutors announced Tuesday.
Sara Orozco Magana, 38, faces felony charges of attempted kidnapping of a child under the age of 14 and attempting to take a minor from a parent or legal custodian, according to a news release from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
She faces a possible maximum sentence of 7 1/2 years in prison if convicted on the charges.
“The safety of our children is paramount,” DA Todd Spitzer stated in the release. “The Orange County District Attorney’s Office would like to remind parents, especially the parents of newborns, to remain vigilant about anyone who is around your child.”
On the morning of June 7, the Santa Ana woman allegedly knocked on the door of a home along Evergreen Street, near Warner Avenue, and told the new mother she needed to take her 1-week-old son, authorities said.
She is accused of falsely identifying herself as a social services worker, telling the mother her name was “Mayela Ortega,” according to the Santa Ana Police Department.
Magana allegedly declined to provide identification.
The mother, whose suspicions by then were raised, pressed the suspect for more information and was told a doctor may have reported abuse, prosecutors said.
Magana allegedly threatened to call police on the woman if she did not give up the infant, but the mother refused to hand her child over.
“I told her if the sheriff comes and he has to arrest me, then he can arrest me. But I am not going to give you my child,” the mother, who wishes to remain anonymous, told KTLA after the incident.
When the woman offered to go with the suspect, Magana said there wasn’t enough room in her car, according to Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna. She then abruptly turned around and walked away.
The mother’s sister recorded the woman as she left the home, and police later released the footage as they sought the public’s help to identify the suspect.
Magana turned herself in after seeing the video on the news, but told police the whole thing was a misunderstanding, authorities said the following morning.
An investigation revealed there was no social service matching the woman’s name, according to Bertagna. He added that the story about her needing to take the infant also did not pan out.
Magana was positively identified by the newborn’s mother and booked on suspicion of attempted kidnapping, police said. They declined to release the suspect’s name at the time of her arrest.
She posted $100,000 bail and was released from jail on June 10, according to prosecutors.
Magana’s arraignment is scheduled for next Monday.