22 Mar 2013

Two charged over baby taken from hospital

11:24 pm on 22 March 2013

Police have arrested a woman and a man and charged them with unlawfully taking an 11 day-old baby from the newborn intensive care unit at Auckland's Starship hospital .

The baby has a medical condition requiring specialist feeding and was taken from the hospital just after 8pm on Thursday.

The police searched all night for the baby, whom they alleged had been taken from the hospital by his mother.

The baby was found on Friday morning and returned to the neonatal ward where he is now in the custody of Child Youth and Family.

A 25-year-old woman and a 36-year-old man appeared in the Auckland District Court late on Friday charged with unlawfully taking him.

The pair have been remanded in custody, with name suppression, until Monday.

Inspector Cornell Kluessein says police were alerted about 8.45pm on Thursday that the baby had gone missing and the infant was found at an Auckland house at 7.15am.

A family friend told police where to find the baby.

The hospital's director of child health Richard Aicken says the boy was removed from the hospital by his mother after a nurse left the room briefly to run a test.

The neo-natal unit now has security staff on the door rather than having patients' families gain access using swipe cards.

He says the hospital could learn lessons about recognising and supervising people who may be distressed.

Child, Youth and Family northern regional director Sharon Thoms says agency staff have previously dealt with the baby's family, and are now working with police and the hospital to make sure the child is kept safe.