OKLAHOMA CITY — A 17-year-old mother was arrested early Monday on accusations she took her 4-month-old daughter from a foster home in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore.
Officials said the mother was arrested on a complaint of child stealing. They said the infant was unharmed and was returned to the custody of the state Department of Human Services.
Police said the teen disappeared with the infant during a visit to the foster home on Saturday. The teen started visiting the foster mother’s home while she was still pregnant.
Officials say the teen does not have legal custody of the baby and did not have permission to take her from the foster home.
Lt. Kyle Dudley of the Moore Police Department said authorities were concerned about the infant’s safety following her disappearance. The teen mother has no money and no vehicle and officials were concerned about the child’s welfare.
“Both of those juveniles were in the custody of DHS, which means they were basically a ward of the state,” Dudley said. Details of the teen’s arrest and the infant’s recovery were not immediately released.
Oklahoma law distinguishes “child stealing” from kidnapping. State law defines child stealing as the taking of a child under 12 from the legal guardian and usually involves custody disputes between divorced parents or between parents and grandparents. Prosecuting for kidnapping requires proving intent to confine, imprison or enslave.