LEXINGTON, KY (WAVE) – A missing Los Angeles toddler found on the University of Kentucky campus on Thursday will remain in the custody of Child Protective Services in the Bluegrass State until legal proceedings are held to return the child to California.
Campus police said 17-month-old Alouette Day-Moreno-Baltierra was scared but safe on Friday at a UK medical facility.
UK police officers discovered Alouette in the company of Maria Baltierra-Dejesus, 62, Thursday night on a parking lot behind Joe Craft Center, home to UK Athletics offices and basketball practice facilities, according to UK Police Chief Joe Monroe.
"This is an example of where the responding officers followed a gut feeling that something just wasn't right with the situation," said Monroe.
The chief said two officers observed Baltierra-Dejesus pushing a stroller through the parking lot with a toddler who was not properly dressed for weather conditions at the time. The officers reported that the woman was uncooperative and tried to hide the toddler's face. Upon further investigation it was determined that the child had been reported abducted in Los Angeles on October 15, possibly by a family member.
UK Police referred to Baltierra-Dejesus as Alouette's "alleged grandmother." They charged the New York resident with endangering the welfare of a minor and custodial interference. Additional felony charges were pending in California.
Police said Baltierra-Dejesus currently is at a UK healthcare facility, but they would not reveal why. When released, she will be lodged in the Fayette County Jail.
Officers said Baltierra-Dejesus was seen at a UK healthcare facility late yesterday afternoon in an area for employees only and was asked to leave. She reportedly said she was trying to get a job as a doctor. Investigators said a woman with the same name had been a doctor in California but was disbarred. It is not yet clear whether the suspect is, in fact, the disbarred doctor.
Police said it appeared Baltierra-Dejesus tried to leave the country with the child and even attempted to take her to Louisville at one point. The two had been in the Lexington area for at least two days, according to investigators.
"We have been working with Child Protective Services, LAPD and the FBI to make sure that we get Alouette returned safely to her legal custodian," Monroe said.
The chief added that the girl appeared to have been in the custody of the state of California at the time of her abduction.
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