NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The mother of a Queens baby was in custody and being questioned by police Wednesday night following a citywide search.
An AMBER Alert was issued earlier in the evening for 8-month-old Nevita Jagdeo, who authorities said was taken by her non-custodial mother, 40-year-old Leila Rajnarie, on Wednesday afternoon.
Rajnarie was having a meeting with the baby’s foster parent at Queens General Hospital Pediatric Center around 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.
Authorities said Rajnarie, who was accompanying the baby for her regular checkup, grabbed the child in the middle of the meeting when the foster mother and doctor were speaking in another room and ran out of the hospital.
Police searched the area around the hospital and Rajnarie’s Woodhaven, Queens neighborhood for hours.
Wednesday night, officers observed a female fitting the description of Rajnarie sitting in the rear of a livery cab near 133rd Street and 101st Avenue. Rajnarie was immediately taken into custody and the baby was taken to a local hospital as a precaution, but had no visible injuries.
State Police said that the child was previously taken from the mother due to child abandonment and mental health reasons. Some of her neighbors said Rajnarie is troubled.
“Maybe she’s depressed…sometime when people depressed, they don’t know what they doing,” Nery Paradis told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez.
A business owner, who asked not to be identified, said Rajnarie often asked him for money, and told him she was fighting the child’s father for custody.
“She asked me for money for the bus. She left. Another three days later, she said ‘My husband is in the hospital with the baby and he’s trying to take [her] away from me’ or whatever, ‘Can you give me money for a cab?'” the business owner said.
The investigation is ongoing.
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