Toddler kidnapped from campus found safe in South Bay

A 2-month-old who was kidnapped from her mother May 4 around 1:30 p.m. from the grounds of San Diego City College later was found safe in San Ysidro with the woman suspected of taking the child.

The woman who is being described as black, 35 to 40 years old, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and heavy, had pretended to be a day care provider at the campus Child Development Center, at 16th and B Street. She convinced the 16-year-old mother to enroll in a program, said Richard Dittbenner, public relations officer to the San Diego Community College District.

Dittbenner said the incident began when the woman randomly started a conversation with the young mother, who had just exited the trolley station near the campus.

“The older woman is not an employee at the center and the mother is not a student at City College,” informed Dittbenner at a press conference outside of the facility. “These people have no connection to the school.”

The woman, child and mother walked the three city blocks to the child care center, they went inside but for an unknown reason the mother left the area.

When she returned shortly after looking for her child, the baby and the woman had vanished. Dittbenner said the center’s staff did not question the women when they saw her leaving with the youngster because they had no idea of the relationships.

Around 4 p.m., the woman was arrested nearly 14 miles south at the Iris Avenue trolley station after she got off with the infant, authorities said.

“This was a crime of opportunity”, said San Diego City College President Terrence Burgess. “To entrust a child to a stranger is not very good judgement.”

The Child Development Center, whose services are available to City College students and faculty, has 65 children enrolled ranging in age from 6 months to 5 years.

“We take the safety of the child care center very seriously,” added Burgess. “There is no way that a student could be accessed other then coming through the front door, we’ve never had an incident where we have lost a child.”