A woman in California claimed she was social worker and tried to take a week-old baby, police said.
The situation unfolded on May 31 in Santa Ana.
The woman, who identified herself as Mayella Ortega, went to the house of the baby and told the mother she was going to take the newborn into protective custody, reported ABC.
The woman who claimed to be Ortega did not provide any documentation backing up her claimed status of a social worker.
When the mother asked the woman questions, the woman told the mother she would leave but would come back with the sheriff’s department.
“No, you don’t want to take my baby,” the mother said she told the woman. “I say, if the sheriff has to come in, that’s fine, but I don’t want to give you my kid.”
The suspect then walked away and departed in a white SUV. Footage released by the Santa Ana Police Department showed a middle-aged woman with short black hair.
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) June 8, 2019
Social services said no one named Mayella Ortega works there and also said there has been no probe linked to the home where the suspect visited.
The woman was later apprehended after the footage was broadcast and the mother went to the police station to identify her. “It’s her,” the woman said.
Police officials said the investigation includes trying to figure out how the suspect knew the mother had just had a baby.
“They always have identification, they always have paperwork and this is not how the process would work, so this is very concerning to us,” Santa Ana Police Corporal Anthony Bertagna told KTLA. He said the suspect surrendered to the police and claimed what happened was a misunderstanding.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Santa Ana Police Department at 714-245-8665.
Social Worker Charged With Lying in Child Removal Case
An Iowa woman was charged earlier this year with perjury for lying in a child removal case.
A judge ruled last year that Chelsie Gray lied repeatedly in a case she worked on while employed by the Iowa Department of Human Services.
Gray falsified information in reports she submitted and also lied while testifying in a trial that led to a judge terminating the legal rights of the parents of four children, District Associate Judge Adam Sauer said. The testimony was full of “lies and misrepresentations,” he said.
Iowa DHS social worker charged with perjury for false testimony that helped convince a judge to separate 4 children from their parents; worker had faced no consequences until @AP started asking questions https://t.co/3ZI79NTXFL
— Ryan J. Foley (@rjfoley) April 9, 2019
Among the lies was Gray claiming she met with the family on a monthly basis leading up to the termination when in fact she did not meet with them. She also said she met with teachers of the children but the teachers said they’d never spoken with her.
“What does not, or at least should not happen, is that an agent of the government, charged with the task of safeguarding the welfare of children, would completely fabricate contact with a family in order to mask non-compliance with the agency’s policy,” Sauer wrote.
Gray was charged with perjury earlier this year in the case.