Missing baby found safe; grandmother accused

A 4-month-old who was reported missing over the weekend was found.
May 24, 2011 1:17:59 AM PDT
A missing 4-month-old baby girl from Contra Costa County has been found safe, but there are questions about where she's been and how she vanished. The girl's parents reported her missing from their home Sunday morning. She was found safe hundreds of miles away in Southern California.

"It was a family member. It was my mom," said Rudy Gallego, who a day after his baby girl Ramy disappeared from her Knightsen home, confirmed his mother, 58-year-old Ericka Gallego, took the baby. "She came to my house and took my baby girl because I guess she just wasn't mentally there anymore," he said. "I'm still trying to figure out why she did it."

Gallego said his mother last visited the family for a week at Mother's Day.

Contra Costa Sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee confirmed the baby was found safe in Southern California. Ramy was discovered missing from her bassinet just after 6 a.m. Sunday, and by midday more than a hundred sheriff's deputies and volunteers launched a massive search near the family home on Tule Rd. At about 12:30 a.m. Monday, the Gallego family learned Ramy was safe in the town of El Monte. Investigators say as many as three people were involved in Ramy's kidnapping.

"Ericka traveled from El Monte at some point prior to the abduction via bus and taxicab. She made entry into the house. After taking the baby, we do believe she took a cab back to the Los Angeles area," said Sheriff's Capt. Steve Warne. "She made entry into the house. Apparently she has some familiarity with the home so it was not a difficult task for her and took the baby while the parents were sleeping."

"I hope she gets help," said Rudy Gallegos. "You don't just steal my baby. I don't care if you're my wife, you're my friend or my mom. It's my child and you're going to get prosecuted the way somebody else would now."

The 4-month-old arrived back home with her mother on Monday evening. The baby's grandmother is facing charges for taking her and the circumstances of the whole story are very strange.

Kristin Gallego and her baby, Ramy, are back at their Knightsen home safe and sound.

"It's indescribable. It's just the happiest moment of my life. I think yesterday was the worst moment of my life and today is probably the best moment of my life," said Kristin.

"It's awesome. We got our family complete. We're done. You know, I have my little thumbsucker back," said Rudy.

The paternal grandmother, Ericka Gallego, who kidnapped Ramy and whisked her down to southern california.

"She made entry into the house. Apparently she has some familiarity with the home so it was not a difficult task for her and took the baby while the parents were sleeping," said Capt. Steve Warne, Contra Costa Co. Sherrif's Dept.

Ramy's family say they knew all along Ericka was mentally off, but never did they think she would be capable of stealing Ramy. According to acquaintances, Ericka told people she was pregnant, even threw herself a baby shower. When she brought Ramy to her home, she told friends the baby was hers and was just two weeks old. She's now being held for kidnapping at an L.A. County jail.

"I would be happy if they lock her away. I mean she has to pay for what she's done, but I don't' have hatred in my heart and I can forgive her. That doesn't mean she'll be a part of our life ever again," said Kristin.

As for Ramy, Child Protective Services looked her over and say she's in perfectly good health -- a huge relief for her parents.

"I think it's been a long, traumatic time for her, but as soon as she saw us she was all smiles and giggles like her normal self," said Kristin.

Ericka is likely to face additional charges. Contra Costa County Sheriff's investigators are working to have her extradited.


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