KNIGHTSEN, Calif. – A woman snatched her infant granddaughter from her son's Northern California home and took a cab 350 miles to her home in Los Angeles County, where she claimed the baby was hers, according to investigators and acquaintances.
Ericka Gallego, 58, was charged with kidnapping on Monday in the disappearance of her 4-month-old granddaughter, Ramy Amadea Gallego, over the weekend from Knightsen, a rural community about 55 miles from San Francisco.
Gallego is accused of taking a bus and a cab from Los Angeles County to the home of her son Rudy, sneaking in and taking the sleeping girl out of her bassinet sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning.
She then called another cab that took the pair back to her home in El Monte, Contra Costa County sheriff's Capt. Steve Warne said. The girl's mother discovered her missing Sunday, according to sheriff's officials.
Gallego was arrested Sunday and was being held at Los Angeles County Jail on $150,000 bail.
She was expected to be transferred to sheriff's custody in the next few days, Warne said. It's not clear if she has retained a lawyer.
Warne said investigators are trying to determine why she took the child. Ericka Gallego apparently told friends she was pregnant and had held a baby shower, said Ivan Jimenez, whose father owns the home where Gallego had been living for about a year.
Jimenez told the San Francisco Chronicle that he saw the baby at his home over the weekend, but did not think it was Gallego's because of the woman's age.
Rudy Gallego said his mother "just took a very big mental wrong turn."
He added, "I just hope she gets help."
The girl's disappearance sparked a search that included about 100 law enforcement officials and volunteers.
Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle
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