Kidnapping Suspect Was Pregnant
Sep. 30, 2006
ST. LOUIS (AP) _ A woman accused of slashing a new mother's throat and kidnapping her baby in rural Missouri was pregnant recently, confirming part of her story to police, authorities said Friday.
Shannon Torrez told police she had delivered a stillborn child on Sept. 15, the same day the mother was attacked and her then-7-day-old infant snatch from her home, investigators said.
Authorities had doubts that Torrez could deliver a child and overpower 21-year-old Stephenie Ochsenbine in the same day.
But a medical examination revealed that Torrez, 36, had ``indications of a recent pregnancy,'' Franklin County prosecuting attorney Robert Parks said in a statement. No remains of Torrez's fetus have been found.
Investigators allege that Torrez tried to pass Abigale Lynn Woods off as her own for five days before her sister-in-law became suspicious. The child was returned unharmed to her family.
Parks said Friday a marked grave at Torrez's home near the town of Lonedell was for a fetus that apparently died in 2000. St. Louis County Medical Examiner Mary Case performed tests confirming the fetus died from natural causes, he said.
Torrez remains jailed on $1 million bond after pleading not guilty to charges of kidnapping, first-degree assault and two counts of armed criminal action. Her attorney, Daniel Briegel, did not answer messages left at his office Friday evening, and has an unlisted home phone number.
Neither Franklin County Sheriff Gary Toelke nor Parks could be immediately reached Friday for comment.