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Nurse, Friend Arrested In Newborn Kidnap

January 27, 1989

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ A newborn and his family were back together Friday after a nurse on maternity leave was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping the boy on the pretext of returning him to the hospital for a blood test.

Six-day-old Henry Garcia was taken from his parents’ home Wednesday by a woman in a white uniform, wearing a stethoscope and claiming to be a Valley Medical Center nurse.

He was found safe 15 hours later after detectives traced Catherine Anne Garrigan through a trail of telephone numbers left with the baby’s family, police said.

Authorities said Garrigan, a registered nurse on leave from the center since mid-December, apparently obtained numbers for Garcia’s family through the hospital and called the relatives after the mother and child were released Sunday.

Police were investigating the possibility that Garrigan had recently suffered a miscarriage, said Lt. Sam Pearson.

The baby’s mother, 27-year-old Margarita Regalado, who has lived in United States for eight years and speaks little English, said a friend received a call from a woman claiming to be a nurse. Regalado doesn’t have a telephone.

The nurse said ″she had to see the baby because they forgot to do a blood test and she wanted to talk to me or see me,″ said the new mother, adding that she and her husband thought the hospital may have forgotten to perform the test.

She said the nurse arrived at their home, checked the baby’s heartbeat and asked if he had a cough.

″She said she would take him for three hours and then would return,″ said Regalado.

As soon as the nurse had gone, Regalado said, she suspected the baby had been stolen. The family called the hospital, which said it had not sent a nurse.

Pearson said detectives traced the baby to Garrigan and a friend, Ismael Perez, 31, through phone numbers left with the newborn’s relatives. Ringing a Santa Clara number, police heard a baby crying in the background, police said.

They kept the woman on the phone while officers were dispatched. There they arrested Perez and Garrigan and found the baby.

Garrigan and Perez were booked Thursday for investigation of conspiracy and kidnapping. Bail was set at $50,000 each. Perez posted bail Thursday.