A 14-month-old baby, missing for three days, was safely reunited with her mother last night after a tip led police to the child, who was sitting on the sofa in a West Baltimore home.
Jessica Alexandra James was found by police in the 2300 block of Winchester Street about 6 p.m. She was still in the company of Christy Ann Pankey, 39, who had been entrusted by the child's mother, Sheryl C. Turner, to drop the baby off with a sitter Friday.
Police went to the house, which belonged to a friend of Ms. Pankey's, after receiving a call from someone who had seen a picture of the baby.
The child was taken to Mercy Hospital for an examination and apparently was unharmed. She alternately hit and kissed her mother when they were reunited at police headquarters, Ms. Turner said.
"It was like: 'I'm glad to see you, but why'd you let me go with her?' " Ms. Turner said. She also saw Ms. Pankey, whom she has known for 21 years, at police headquarters.
"She waved at me like everything was fine, like she was surprised that I would call the police," Ms. Turner said. "I didn't talk to her."
Ms. Pankey, of the 6100 block of Foreland Garth in Columbia, was charged with child abduction.
Friday afternoon about 3, Ms. Turner said, Ms. Pankey agreed to drive her to her job at a city recreation and parks facility. She said she was late and asked Ms. Pankey to take Jessica to a sitter in the 2100 block of Presstman Street.
Ms. Turner said she called the baby sitter a couple of times from the recreation facility and that the sitter told her Ms. Pankey and Jessica had not arrived. When Ms. Pankey failed to appear with the baby by 11 p.m., Ms. Turner notified the police.