American Woman Arrested Attempting to Smuggle Baby Onto Flight in Carry-On in Philippines: Reports

September 4, 2019 Updated: September 4, 2019

An American woman was arrested for trying to smuggle a newborn baby onto a flight out of Manila airport after carrying it through security in her carry-on bag.

The Philippines Bureau of Immigration (BI) named the woman as Jennifer Talbot, 43, according to local reports, which said she was arrested on Sept. 4 as she approached the departure gates.

Authorities have indicated that the baby appeared to be Filipino, and did not belong to Talbot.

Port Operations Division Chief Grifton Medina said that authorities believe Talbot switched between carrying the baby and holding it in her in the bag to evade X-ray and immigration procedures.

“We assume that she was holding the child when she came to the airport so that the child wouldn’t be detected by the X-ray screeners,” said Medina, according to state-run news agency PNA.

“However, she hid the child when she went to the airline’s counter, and while undergoing the immigration procedure,” he said.

Planes are parked at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Aug. 5, 2010. (Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images)

She took out the baby as she approached the boarding gate at Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NIAI), where airline staff established that the child had no travel documents, no birth certificate, and no certification from the social services.

“When [sic] she presented was an affidavit, which is also doubtful because it wasn’t signed by the child’s mother, and considering the child is a Filipino,” Medina said.

The child was hidden inside an “oversized belt bag” according to the BI, per the Inquirer.

Still CCTV images shared on social media by local news sites from the airport show a woman, identified as Talbot, standing in a security line at the airport.

Woman with Baby in Suitcase
CCTV still released by the Philippines Immigration Bureau of the American woman before she was stopped by officials. (Courtesy of Philippines Bureau of Immigration)

According to authorities, Talbot faces several charges including child trafficking.

The case is being referred to the National Bureau of Investigation, which is also charged with finding the baby’s identity and his tracing its parents.

According to Rappler, one of the first news outlets to report the arrest, an NBI spokesperson said that the baby had been handed over to social services.

MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal told the news outlet he has ordered his security team “to establish the circumstances surrounding the alleged attempt of a female passenger to sneak out of the country a six-day-old male infant whom she reportedly kept inside a bag she was carrying,” the MIAA said.

“The MIAA cannot issue any further statement at this time until the ongoing investigation is over,” he added.

In 2016, the crew on a flight to Paris found a toddler in a passenger’s carry-on luggage after they were tipped off by another passenger who saw the bag wriggling.

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