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Abducted Infant Recovered, Couple Held

October 23, 1986

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) _ An informant who didn’t believe a woman’s claim of motherhood led police to a home where they found a kidnapped 3-week-old girl and arrested a husband and wife, officials said.

The infant was reunited with her parents, Sharon Elizabeth Howard, 31, and her husband Monte, 35, Wednesday. Lauren Nicole had been taken Tuesday from her home by a woman who tricked her way into the house and pulled a gun, police said.

Elyse Bobbi Ricken, 39, and her husband Tim, 23, who live about two miles from the Howards, were arrested at their home Wednesday by police detectives and FBI agents, Riverside police Lt. Jim Rector said.

Mrs. Ricken was booked for investigation of kidnapping and robbery, while her husband was booked for investigation of parole violation, Officer Steve Shumway said today.

Rector said the Rickens were picked up after a woman called police saying she knew someone who claimed to be pregnant, but that she didn’t believe it.

The caller told detectives the woman claimed Tuesday morning to be going to the hospital, then returned several hours later with a baby girl and said it was hers, Rector said.

The caller’s description of the infant matched that provided by Lauren Nicole’s parents, including a birthmark which hadn’t been disclosed, he said.

The blue-eyed, brown-haired infant was taken from her parents’ home by a woman who had talked her way into the house claiming her car was having engine trouble, police said.

Mrs. Howard told police the woman asked to use the telephone to contact her husband.

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

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 her 7-year-old son, Corey, was ordered to his room and she was told to lie on the floor.

″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 and place her in a baby carrier.

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

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