Saturday, July 25, 2009

Arraignment of alleged baby snatcher continued : Leianna Patricia Arzate is charged with abducting newborn from hospital


July 25, 2009 6:49 AM

A Santa Barbara County Superior court judge on Friday continued until July 31 the setting of a preliminary hearing date for a woman charged in the kidnapping of a 5-hour-old infant from a hospital maternity ward.

Judge Clifford R. Anderson granted the continuance in the case of Leianna Patricia Arzate, 33, who is charged with kidnapping a child under 14, burglary and child abuse, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's office. Also continued was the setting of a date for hearings on alleged probation violations of which Ms. Arzate stands accused.

Ms. Arzate has been in custody since Feb. 27 when police apprehended her in Santa Maria three hours after she allegedly took the newborn boy, Julian, from the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital maternity ward.

A hospital surveillance photo allegedly showed her carrying a closed plastic bag that authorities say contained the newborn.

She has been held without bail because she is allegedly in violation of probation received during two previous cases involving grand theft and theft from a dependent adult.

Ms. Arzate is being represented by Deputy Public Defender J. Jeff Chambliss, who previously entered a not guilty plea on her behalf. Her case is being prosecuted by Chief Trial Deputy Josh Lynn of the district attorney's office.

Deputy District Attorney Ronald Zonen filled in for Mr. Lynn on Friday morning.

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