FARMINGTON — A mother who sparked an Amber Alert on Wednesday after taking her newborn child who she did not have custodial rights to has been arrested.
Maria Ann Torres, 36, was booked into the Davis County Jail Wednesday night for investigation of child kidnapping and obstructing justice.
Torres’ son, whom police called “Baby Torres,” was born in a Salt Lake hospital on Dec. 20. Two days later, Maria Torres took the infant from the hospital and left, according to the Davis County Sheriff’s Office.
But it wasn’t until a petition for custody was filed in 2nd District Court on Tuesday raising allegations that the newborn could be in danger that officials were prompted to issue an Amber Alert on Wednesday.
According to a police affidavit, the Utah Division of Child and Family Services attempted to serve a warrant regarding custody of the infant on Dec. 22 at the hospital.
“Maria Torres physically pushed passed the caseworker and left the hospital with the newborn,” the affidavit states.
On Tuesday, Torres failed to show up to a court hearing regarding custody and a judge granted temporary custody of the infant to DCFS, according to the affidavit. In his ruling, the judge noted “there is a substantial danger to the physical health or safety of the child. ... There is a substantial risk that the child will suffer abuse or neglect if the child is not removed from the custody of the child’s parent,” the affidavit states.
Due to those concerns, an Amber Alert was issued even though the child was taken two weeks earlier.
Davis County sheriff’s deputies learned that Torres was at a home in Salt Lake City. When deputies arrived at the residence, no one would answer the door but a detective could see Torres through a window, the affidavit states.
“Maria Torres was quickly packing things into a bag as if she was going to try and leave. The front door was then breached and officers and detectives entered the residence,” according to the affidavit.
Torres claimed her son was with other family members who were out of town, the affidavit states. But other children who were in the house later “retrieved the newborn from a closet area of the basement and turned the newborn over to detectives,” the affidavit states.
After her arrest, Torres “admitted she was aware of the issued Amber Alert and stated she had turned her phone off to avoid the police finding her,” according to the affidavit.