Missing baby is located, treated for minor injuries Teen sought for days charged with assault

August 10, 1996|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

An 18-month-old baby abducted from her West Baltimore home on Sunday was found early yesterday, and police charged a 15-year-old girl with taking the child and beating her with a stick.

The child, Quanita Soquia Hines, was returned to her mother yesterday after being treated at Mercy Medical Center for bruises on her hand and buttocks. Police said the city Department of Social Services is investigating.

Belinda Summers, 15, of the 500 block of N. Calhoun St. was charged as a juvenile with abduction, physical child abuse and aggravated assault. She was being held by juvenile authorities yesterday.

Police normally do not name juvenile offenders, but they released the young suspect's name and photograph this week during their frantic efforts to find Quanita. Two squads of detectives and the FBI searched the city for almost a week.

The baby was found shortly after midnight at East North Avenue and North Charles Street after police received at least two 911 emergency calls from people who recognized the teen from news accounts.

When officers pulled up to the corner, several people shouted, "Here's the baby."

Quanita was taken Sunday afternoon from her house in the 700 block of George St. Her mother, Tilisa Barnett, 26, who pleaded Wednesday for her daughter's safe return, had left the child in the custody of her mother and sister, with three other children.

Police said Summers, an acquaintance of Barnett, 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.

Over the past several days, police said Summers and the child were seen at the Inner Harbor, Lexington Market, Mondawmin Mall and in various drug stash houses on the city's Westside.

Agent Ragina L. Cooper, a police spokeswoman, said that on Tuesday, Summers befriended a man she met at the Mondawmin Mall identified as Eric Belton, 19, of the 300 block of E. 22nd St.

Cooper said Belton, apparently not knowing Summers was wanted by police, allowed Summers and Quanita to stay at his house. On Thursday, police said Belton's friends told him that Summers was wanted by police. He confirmed that by watching television news Thursday night and seeing her picture.

"He immediately went to a phone booth and called police," Cooper said. The man told dispatchers he would take Summers and Quanita to North and Charles. Other people also called police when they saw Summers at the corner.

Cooper said officers searched Belton's house and found a stroller, clothing belonging to Quanita and a stick. The spokeswoman said Belton told investigators that he saw Summers hit the child with the stick.

Police said that Quanita suffered bruises on her hands and buttocks, but that the child's "overall health was good."

Pub Date: 8/10/96

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