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Dorothy Jean Brown Gets 10 Years for Kendol Kernes Kidnapping

May 13, 1988

BALTIMORE (AP) _ A woman who admitted kidnapping a 2-day-old baby from his mother’s hospital room was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison.

Dorothy Jean Brown, 44, barely spoke above a whisper in telling U.S. District Court Judge Frederic N. Smalkin that she was unaware Kendol Kernes was not her child when she took him nearly a year ago but now accepts he is someone else’s boy.

Smalkin said Ms. Brown exhibited ″aberrant behavior″ and recommended she receive continued psychiatric treatment.

″Somehow or other Ms. Brown has come to believe that she had a baby,″ Smalkin said. ″We’re not dealing here with somebody who acts out of typical criminal motivation.″

Smalkin said he would not impose fines against Ms. Brown, a former Baltimore Museum of Art security guard, because she had not held a job since the kidnapping. He said time she already served will be included in her sentence. She has been in jail since her arrest in October.

Ms. Brown will become eligible for parole after serving at least one-third of her sentence. She could have received a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Ms. Brown, pleaded guilty March 25 to a kidnapping charge that accused her of taking the infant she abducted in Baltimore across state lines. She had fled to Philadelphia with the baby. While agreeing to a plea bargain, Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmina S. Hughes said she would recommend ″substantial″ incarceration for Ms. Brown.

The child was taken from his mother’s room June 18, a week after another widely publicized baby-snatching in nearby Prince George’s County.