The baby, Mariana Corona, was rushed to the hospital for treatment. Worry quickly washed away from the Corona family after Morgan Hill police told them the baby had been located.
Police found the baby in the back seat of her mother's stolen 1991 Infiniti Q45, southwest of Salinas, at Monterey Salinas Highway and Torero Drive – just six miles away from where the car was stolen. A tip led CHP officers to the abandoned car, three and a half hours after they issued an AMBER alert.
"They've been working really hard and thank you very much and we are thankful to God for the helping us to find the baby," said Consuelo Moreno, the mother's aunt.
"This moment I cannot describe because I am happy," said Miguel Corona, the baby's grandfather.
All along, police went on the assumption that whoever stole the car had no idea an infant was in the back seat and that this was likely a crime of opportunity. Marianna's mother left her and the keys in the car while she got information about St. Catherines Church food bank program.
"The office is right there, she was parked right in front, like she could see the car, but I don't know how it happened. She said that she turned around and maybe that's when they took the car," said Veronica Corona, the baby's aunt.
Police from all over were on the lookout for the car and the little girl. Now that they've found the abandoned car, investigators will try to identify the suspect or suspects through DNA or anything else left in the car.
"We'll certainly work with Salinas Police Department and Salinas Highway Patrol in that area to see if they have any other additional information, similar cases, any individuals who've been stealing and dropping off cars in their area," said Morgan Hill Cpt. Joe Sampson.
Police have no information about whoever is responsible.