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S.L. woman is charged in kidnapping of her baby

A Salt Lake woman has been charged in the kidnapping of her heroin-addicted 19-day-old daughter from a hospital Saturday.

Christine J. Sowsonicut, 22, was charged with child kidnapping, a first-degree felony, Tuesday in 3rd District Court. She is being held in the Salt Lake County Jail on $75,000 bail.

Two University Hospital employees told police Sowsonicut "took her biological daughter from the newborn infant care unit of the hospital," according to the charges.

A hospital surveillance tape shows Sowsonicut leaving the nursery area with what appeared to be the baby beneath her coat.

Because the state has custody of the baby, Sowsonicut had no authority to take her, according to the charges. She also put the 5-pound baby girl at risk because the child is dependent on a feeding tube and could have suffered dehydration or contracted pneumonia.

Juvenile Court Judge Kimberly Hornak granted custody of the baby to the state Friday because "the baby had been born with heroin in her system" and "the mother was unable to care for the child," the charges state. The baby was born several weeks premature on Oct. 6.

Sowsonicut, who was present at the custody hearing, admitted to police that she "concealed the baby in her coat and left the hospital."

Three hours after disappearing, Sowsonicut and the baby were found at a downtown motel and the baby was returned to the hospital with no serious medical setbacks.