A middle-aged Kenyan woman suspected to be behind a series of theft of newborn babies at Pumwani Maternity Hospital in Nairobi was arrested on Saturday.
The suspect named Irene Syombua was nabbed at around 9 pm on Saturday night while trying to steal an infant at the hospital.
A body of a dead baby was found wrapped in a sack and stashed in the boot when detectives searched the suspect’s car. Police believe the woman wanted to swap the dead infant with a living one.
The woman is presently being detained awaiting arraignment in court on Monday. Cases of child theft are rampant at Pumwani Hospital, where criminals take advantage of security lapses to steal or swap infants.
Last month, another woman was busted carrying a stolen baby on a backpack at the same hospital. The suspect allegedly stole the child while the mother was processing her discharge.
In July, a childless nurse identified as Sheila Adhiambo Aluoch was also arrested at the facility for allegedly attempting to steal her friend's newborn baby. When the baby was due, she allegedly took her friend, Phoebe Achieng to Puwmani Hospital and registered her under her own name and left.
Nurses at the hospital got suspicious when they called the name Shiela Adhiambo Aluoch after Achieng’s husband came to visit her after delivery.
“The name he asked for [Phoebe Achieng] was not corresponding to any of the names we had in our register. This is a surprise and it looked like a well-orchestrated deal. Even a genius might not catch on," said Pumwani Maternity Hospital medical superintendent Leonard Okoko.
Okoko said the hospital immediately alerted the police who arrested the suspect.