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Woman Returned To Mexico in Stolen-From-Womb Case

October 29, 1994

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) _ A woman suspected of stealing a baby from a clinic and raising him for nearly two years was returned to Mexico on Friday to face child trafficking charges.

Paulyna Botello, 33, appeared calm and smiled as a U.S. marshal delivered her to Mexican authorities at the Gateway International Bridge, which links Brownsville and Matamoros.

Laura Lugo of Brownsville claims Ms. Botello and her sister, Rosa Botello, lured her to a clinic in Matamoros, Mexico, for what she believed would be a routine prenatal exam on Sept. 1, 1992.

Instead, Ms. Lugo claims, doctors sedated her and delivered the baby by Caesarean section against her will. Ms. Lugo has testified that when she awoke, the Botellos had taken her baby.

The Botellos claim Ms. Lugo initially agreed to give up the baby, then changed her mind after he was born and made up the abduction story.

Genetic tests determined a 99 percent probability that Ms. Lugo is the mother and excluded Paulyna Botello.

Texas District Judge Robert F. Barnes on Oct. 7 granted Ms. Lugo custody of her son, now 2.

Paulyna Botello and her sister are charged in Mexico with child abduction; they face no charges in the United States. Rosa Botello is considered a fugitive.

It will be a second trial for Ms. Botello. In October 1993, a judge in Matamoros convicted her of trafficking of a minor. But an appeals court, citing evidence problems, annulled the conviction and ordered her released.

Ms. Botello returned to the United States, where she is a legal resident, believing that she had been exonerated, said Felix Recio, her extradition attorney.

Mexico issued an arrest warrant for a new trial, and the FBI apprehended Ms. Botello on June 30. No trial date has been set.

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