Anguished mother pleads for infant's safe return 15-year-old suspect spotted with child around city, police say

August 08, 1996|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A 26-year-old West Baltimore mother pleaded yesterday for ** the safe return of her infant daughter, who police say was abducted Sunday by a teen-ager who has been seen taking the child to stores, markets and drug houses.

"I just want my baby back," Tilisa Barnett told reporters yesterday. Talking directly to the 15-year-old suspect, she said: "I hope you are feeding her. She loves to eat."

FBI agents are helping in the search. City police have assigned two squads of detectives to find the 18-month-old girl, Quanita Soquia Hines. They have plastered neighborhoods with fliers and are preparing to go on the national television show "America's Most Wanted."

"We are asking for the safe return of the child as soon as possible," said Detective Gregory Eads, adding that the teen and child have been spotted in known drug stash houses. "The child is not in the best of environments at all times."

In an effort to help locate the child, police have identified the 15-year-old suspect as Belinda Summers, an acquaintance of Barnett's family. Detectives said Summers has not returned to her home in the 500 block of N. Calhoun St. since Sunday, and they believe she has been roaming the city with the infant, staying at friends' houses.

Eads said Quanita is teething and needs medication, but detectives are not immediately concerned about her health or well-being. Police said the suspect has disappeared with other children for up to two weeks, but always returned them safely.

"I think Belinda is scared," Barnett said. "That is why she hasn't brought Quanita back yet. She doesn't have to be scared. All she does is have to bring my baby back."

Barnett said her daughter was taken Sunday afternoon from her rowhouse in the 700 block of George St. Barnett had gone out, but left the child in the custody of her sister and mother, who left Quanita downstairs with her older siblings, two brothers, ages 7 and 9, and a 6-year-old sister.

Police said that Summers apparently walked into the house and told the children that she was taking Quanita to the corner store for a bag of chips and never returned. Police have interviewed scores of people, including friends of the suspect and her family.

One of the people interviewed told detectives that Summers frequents the Inner Harbor, Lexington Market and Crazy John's, an all-night carryout on the western edge of downtown. The suspect's relatives also have been looking for Summers.

On Monday night, detectives went to the Inner Harbor, where a couple visiting from Pennsylvania thought they had seen Summers -- wearing a dirty orange top and yellow floral pants -- and the child the day before at the Amphitheater.

Two other Inner Harbor sightings were reported to the police, based on fliers that detectives had handed out. Other sightings occurred near Harlem Park Square and in the back seat of a white Toyota Celica in West Baltimore.

A clerk at the Mondawmin Mall told police that she saw the suspect and baby on Tuesday standing in front of a clothing store. "The baby was hugging a security guard," a police report ** says.

Quanita was last seen wearing a pink and blue outfit and white shoes. She has a ponytail and a gold post earring in her left ear.

Metro Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,000 reward for information that helps authorities find the child and the suspect. That number is 276-8888.

People can also call Baltimore police at 396-2636.

Pub Date: 8/08/96

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