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Cousin arrested for kidnapping baby


Baby, 4 months old, left outside in cold, rain for approximately five hours until found

A 17-year-old girl accused of kidnapping a 4-month-old baby and abandoning him in a stranger's yard overnight said she took the baby because she feared for his welfare and safety.

Portland Police arrested Kabriana Harper on one count of second-degree kidnapping faces an allegation of second-degree kidnapping for the Monday, March 5, disappearance of the baby boy.

The baby's mother called police to report her baby missing from her unit at the Cedar Tree Apartments in the 200 block of Southeast 148th Avenue at about 2 a.m. Tuesday, March 5.

She told police she'd been in the shower when she heard her front door to her apartment close, according to court documents. When she got out of the shower, her son was not in the car seat he'd been sleeping in. Her 17-year-old cousin, who'd recently been staying with her also and was leaving to go home, also was gone.

The frantic mother woke up her other relatives — mother, sister, a cousin and her cousin's fiancée — to see if they had the baby. None of them did and they all began to search for the child.

Meanwhile, relatives called Harper, to see if she had the baby and told her to come back to the apartment. The baby's mother and grandmother both reported to police that Harper denied having the baby.

When she came back to the apartment, police detained her while other officers began to search “in earnest,” according to a probably cause affidavit.

Officers searched the surrounding area in the Hazelwood neighborhood, said Sgt. Pete Simpson, Portland Police spokesman.

At about 7 a.m. — approximately five hours after the baby disappeared — a woman about six blocks away reported finding a baby under a tree in her front yard in the 400 block of Northeast 139th Avenue. He was wearing only a onsie and was loosely wrapped in a blanket.

“So. Found a baby on my lawn this morning. That's new,” the woman wrote on twitter. “The baby is fine. Cold, but safe.”

Medical personnel transported the baby to a Portland hospital for evaluation.

Detectives interviewed Harper extensively before lodging her into the Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Home on one count of

Harper reportedly admitted to police that she took the baby and left it in the yard when she started getting calls from relatives about the child's whereabouts.

She said she didn't want to get in trouble for taking the baby.

Harper also said she was worried about the baby's welfare and safety but could not articulate why.

“Furthermore, she was unable to explain how leaving the chid unattended in a stranger's yard in cold and rainy weather was more safe than leaving him in his apartment where he was sleeping peacefully,” wrote Deputy District Attorney Heidi Moawad in the affidavit.

Although police reports indicate the weather was 39 to 41 degrees with intermittent rain while the boy was outside, the National Weather Service reports it was as cold as 29 degrees in Portland at that time.