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Infant Abducted From Mother By Gun-Wielding Woman

October 23, 1986

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) _ A 3-week-old girl was recovered Wednesday and two people were being held for questioning a day after a woman wearing thick makeup tricked her way into a home, then abducted the infant at gunpoint.

Lauren Nicole Howard’s heartbroken family had pleaded Wednesday for whoever snatched the girl in an infant carrier from her parents’ home. She appeared to be in good condition and was returned to her parents Wednesday night after an examination by doctors, said police Lt. Jim Rector.

The identities of the people questioned were not immediately released.

Police were led to the couple by a woman who called a hotline saying she knew a woman who claimed to be pregnant, but that she didn’t believe it, Rector said. The caller told police the woman said Tuesday morning she was going to the hospital, and returned hours later with a baby girl she said was hers.

The caller’s description of the infant matched Lauren’s, including a birthmark which hadn’t been disclosed previously, he said.

Sharon Elizabeth Howard and her husband, Monte, were unlikely targets for a ransom demand, said Mrs. Howard’s mother, Donna Cline.

″My daughter is not even working. No way are they going after ransom money,″ Mrs. Cline said.

″I believe that the lady could show some wisdom, some warmth, some heart, and realize what she’s done, and just put the baby on anybody’s doorstep and just leave it there healthy,″ she said.

Neither Mrs. Howard, 31, nor her 7-year-old son, Corey, who was home ill from school Tuesday, were harmed during the abduction of the infant.

Mrs. Howard told police her baby was stolen by a woman who came to her door and said her car engine was misfiring. The woman said she wanted to use the telephone to contact her husband.

″I used judgment, sized her up and she looked reasonable enough,″ Ms. Howard said Tuesday night.

The woman said she couldn’t reach her husband, left and then returned to the Howard home, claiming her car was worse and wouldn’t start. She asked to make a second telephone call, but again claimed her husband didn’t answer, Mrs. Howard said.

″As she headed for the front door, she turned around and pulled a gun on my family,″ Mrs. Howard said.

She said Corey was ordered to his room and she was told to lie on the floor and put the infant in the baby carrier.

″She told me not to move and that she was going to let a man in the house and if I did anything he would kill me,″ Mrs. Howard said.

She said she remained on the floor about three minutes and did not see the woman pick up her daughter.

After checking on Corey, she ran outside in time to see the woman driving away with her baby, she said.

Sgt. Dan Horton said the woman also stole Mrs. Howard’s wallet containing identification and credit cards.

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