Jason Matthew Bristol allegedly concocted a scheme with the baby’s mother to smuggle the newborn baby out of Glendale’s Banner Thunderbird Medical Center hospital to avoid having Arizona’s Child Protective Services (CPS) take her away from the parents. Jason is an admitted meth addict, and the baby was born with traces of morphine, methamphetamine, and marijuana in her system.
According to the Arizona Republic, Bristol calmly walked out of the maternity ward with the baby in a plastic bag, with no one in the hospital giving him a second thought. Surveillance footage shows the man making his escape with the baby, but there is no audio. However, staff reports that security alarms, designed to go off whenever someone tries to kidnap a baby, were blaring.
Hospital security expert Steve Kaufer with Inter/Action Associates explains that when a maternity ward’s security alarms go off, the entire hospital goes into lockdown mode.
“It’s akin to the shoplifting tags that are used by department stores, it’s a similar technology. So it sounds like the hospital was equipped with the proper technology and the hospital personnel did the proper things.”
The hospital, in fact, did not do the proper thing; although nurses did come to investigate, they did not find a baby. A hospital employee can be seen waving a security card to stop the alarm, and nobody questioned Bristol about the contents of his plastic bag.
KFOR reports that at least three different hospital employees spoke to Bristol as he was making his escape, trying multiple different doors during the process. No one questioned him about the contents of the plastic bag he was holding, despite missing-baby alarms going off left and right.
According to CNN, babies snatched from maternity wards are exceedingly rare — just 128 baby abductions from hospitals since 1983. Marie Watteau, a spokeswoman for the American Hospital Association, cites enhanced security efforts.
“Although one case like this is too many, aggressive security and comprehensive protocols in place are better and ensure families are more secure than 23 years ago.”
Bristol’s kidnapping of his own newborn daughter, however, indicates that the system is still subject to human error.
Police say Bristol made it all the way home with the baby — who was wrapped in a blanket to keep her warm — before cops arrived. He was arrested and charged with child abuse and drug possession.
[Image courtesy of: USA Today]