Teen charged with trying to take newborn

Clayton County police arrested a Morrow teenager Wednesday morning and charged her with trying to kidnap a newborn baby from a Riverdale hospital.

Officer Phong Nguyen said Naquelle Ballard, 19, was caught about an hour after fleeing Southern Regional Medical Center. She is charged with kidnapping and false imprisonment.

She is being held without bond in the Clayton County Jail, pending a first appearance in Magistrate Court, possibly as soon as Thursday afternoon.

Nguyen said investigators are not releasing any information on possible motives. "Further details are pending investigation," he said. "It is important to note that our police officers were able to put her into custody within an hour of the call."

Nguyen could not release information on whether or not Ballard knew the baby's family. The baby never left the hospital.

The kidnapping was foiled about 9:20 a.m., by the hospital's elaborate alarm system, and two employees who are trained twice a year for just this scenario, said Southern Regional Spokeswoman Amanda Bartlett.

"Security is definitely a big concern for Southern Regional," said Bartlett. "I think this demonstrates the hospital's commitment to security."

In the last six months, the hospital spent $180,000 to upgrade the system, she said.

"That system, coupled with employees who put their training into practice, shows our security worked out really well," said Bartlett.

Taking the newborn outside the parameters of the Women's Life Center activated the alarm. The alarm alerted the two workers who went into action. Nguyen said the suspect put the baby on the ground and fled the scene.

"The baby was not injured," he said. "She didn't leave the hospital with the baby."

Surveillance cameras captured Ballard and her car leaving the hospital grounds and provided officers with information about her vehicle, said Nguyen. He said Ballard was stopped about 10:20 a.m., as she drove through Lake City.

Southern Regional’s Bartlett did not identify the baby, and said the mother did not want to speak to the media.

"They are both doing fine," she said.