Two parents and a suspected kidnapper were arrested in the abduction of an 11-month-old girl who was found safe Monday after being taken the previous evening in South Los Angeles, police said.
Baby Heather was found in the area of 52nd Street and Broadway around 3:15 p.m., about an hour after the L.A. Police Department asked the public’s help for assistance in the case.
She had been abducted in the 8100 block of South Western Avenue around 6 p.m. Sunday but it wasn’t reported to police until Monday morning, officials said.
The suspect, identified as 39-year-old Delaneo Adams, was arrested after he was recognized by staff at a hospital he’d checked himself in to, detectives said.
He’s believed to be an acquaintance of the family and is currently homeless, police said. Adams was in the area Sunday evening and was visiting with the girl’s parents.
At some point, after one of the parents had left and the other became distracted, the suspect took the baby, according to LAPD.
It’s unclear why the parents didn’t report the incident to police earlier. A motive was not immediately known.
“We don’t know, and I think that’s even scarier when you don’t know what the intentions are,” Detective Liliana Preciado said before Heather was recovered. “And as a mother, I would want my child to be found as soon as possible just because of that uncertainty.”
LAPD says both parents have been taken into custody on suspicion of child endangerment, and the baby will be placed into protective custody.
Ebony Bass says the man identified as Adams was sitting outside her family’s apartment with the baby around midnight.
Bass’ sister asked the man if he needed help and volunteered to take the child in for the night. By the morning, the man was gone, Bass told KTLA.
At that point Bass says her family took the infant to LAPD’s 77th Street police station, but the lobby was closed because of the pandemic.
“We did not have any reports of the child being missing. So at this point, I don’t believe they ever make contact with any police officer,” Bass said.
It wasn’t until she was watching KTLA at work Monday afternoon and saw pictures of the infant and Adams that Bass realized people were searching for the girl, she said.
“I was like, ‘Oh, that looks like the pretty baby that’s at my house,’ ” she said. “And then they show the guy, and I was like, ‘Oh, that is the pretty baby at the house.’ ”
Bass called her sister and mom, who were with the child, and they promptly called police.
An Amber Alert was never issued because there was no vehicle associated with the suspect.
No further details were immediately provided, and the incident remains under investigation.