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California woman impersonated social worker to try and kidnap newborn, police say

Posted at 6:19 AM, Jun 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-10 07:19:40-04

Police have arrested a woman who allegedly impersonated a social worker in an apparent effort to kidnap a California woman's newborn child.

Officers arrested the woman on suspicion of kidnapping after a mom said she showed up to her home in Santa Ana, California, on Friday morning and claimed she was there to take her 1-week-old child into protective custody, authorities said.

She allegedly identified herself as a social worker named Mayella Ortega, but she refused to offer any credentials to confirm her identity, according to police. She allegedly threatened to call the sheriff's department if the victim did not surrender the baby.

"I told her if the sheriff comes and he has to arrest me, then he can arrest me. But I am not going to give you my child," the mother, who wishes to remain anonymous, told ABC’s Los Angeles station KABC.

The mom said she offered to go with the woman to the police department, but the woman said there wasn't room in the vehicle for the mother and quickly left the scene, a spokesperson for the Santa Ana Police Department said.

Social workers are typically required to show credentials identifying themselves as government employees.

Investigators with the Santa Ana Police Department said a 38-year-old Hispanic female had been arrested in connection with the case, but it declined to release her name or booking photo.

The suspect turned herself in following the release of video that identified her as a person of interest, police said.

Local detectives are now working in conjunction with the Los Angeles and San Bernardino County sheriff's departments on "possibly related investigations," according to police.

Police announced the suspect’s arrest on Saturday morning, saying she’d been booked as part of an investigation by homicide detectives and the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

She reportedly told police that the situation was a misunderstanding.