Jennifer Sutton, who advertised for a nanny to care for her infant daughter and got a kidnaper instead, is one of the lucky ones. Or so people are always telling her.

She got her baby back, one month and one day after the child was abducted from their suburban Dallas home by a woman Sutton hired as a sitter. Now, two years later, Sutton says little Mallory is fine. But Sutton is not so sure about herself.

"There are some things that will never go away," the 22-year-old Sutton said. "The way I deal with people, some of the feelings I have. I don't completely trust people. Whereas I used to trust people at their word, now I wonder what they really mean."

The Sutton case in many ways parallels the recent incidents in Baltimore and the Washington area in which infants Jeremiah Thate and Kendol B. Kernes were snatched from hospitals, held by abductors, then found and returned to their parents within a few months.

And, according to psychiatric experts, Jennifer Sutton's reaction to the crime is typical.

"We are talking about {something} that is really no different from the reaction of people who are raped or mugged or otherwise subjected to crime and violence," said Max Siegel, former president of the American Psychological Association. "The reactions . . . are of helplessness, anger; feelings of powerlessness, the brutal reality of being violated in a society which certainly does far more for the criminal than the victim."

Sutton would certainly second that appraisal. Though Mallory was found and her abductor was tried, convicted and sentenced, Sutton believes that the system shortchanged her.

Authorities "didn't do much digging" to determine whether others were involved along with Susan Oglesby Miller, the Houston woman convicted of the crime, Sutton said. Prosecutors failed to show much sympathy. And during the trial, Miller's attorneys were allowed to delve into Sutton's past and the fact that she was a single mother to try to discredit her testimony, Sutton recalled bitterly.

The sentence of 10 years and a $5,000 fine, the maximum allowed under Texas law for child stealing, was "not enough," Sutton believes, and with the case on appeal, her baby's abductor is still free.

"I hope when they put her in prison, she does not get out," Sutton asserted. "If she apologized, I would not forgive."

So much in Sutton's life has changed since November 1985, when she advertised for a baby sitter and Miller, using another name, answered the ad. Sutton, who was about to start a new job, interviewed Miller, called two of her references and hired her. "She seemed perfect," Sutton said.

On Miller's first day on the job, Nov. 13, Sutton called home to see how things were going. There was no answer. The baby sitter and 10-week-old Mallory were gone.

Police, the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children immediately moved on the case. On Dec. 14, Mallory was found in the home of a Tampa, Fla., couple.

A few hours after seeing Mallory's picture on "Good Morning America," a woman had called the National Center's hot line to say that Mallory might be the child a friend of hers was presenting as her own, according to a center spokesman. Sutton and her daughter were quickly reunited.

The baby, chubbier than before, had not been physically harmed, Sutton said. But she was "a little apprehensive . . . , real nervous," the mother recalled. Before the abduction, Sutton said, "I could run a vacuum cleaner under her crib, and she would not wake up." After her return, Sutton said, any little noise could make her jump.

The baby's problems disappeared in a few months. Sutton's scars have been slower to heal.

On her first night back in her home in Coppell, a Dallas suburb, Sutton moved Mallory's crib to her own bedroom. It has been there since. "I was afraid to go to sleep {feeling} that she would not be there when I woke up," she said.

Sutton has refused to leave Mallory with a baby sitter other than her own mother. Though she does drop Mallory at a carefully chosen day care center, an afternoon has yet to pass when Sutton does not phone to check on her.

The worst of it, she said, is that "I've spoiled her in some ways . . . because of the guilt I felt . . . . She knows all she has to do is cry a little and she gets her way . . . . I am doing it for my peace of mind, not for her."

And to this day, Sutton is haunted by one thought about Miller: "I should have checked her out better."

Mental health experts say most of Sutton's feelings and actions are to be expected. The danger in such cases, they said, is letting those feelings of guilt or anger or fear for a child's safety go too far.

Mary Ann Bartusis, a psychiatrist and professor at the Medical College of Pennsylvania who has worked with crime victims, said that anger at the criminal justice system is "realistic" in such a case.

However, that anger at the system or the defendant may also be borne of guilt, perhaps for not investigating the baby sitter more thoroughly. Such anger might better be channeled into a campaign or committee that works for victims' rights.

When Sutton thinks back to the days after Mallory was found, one picture sticks in her mind: a woman in the parking lot of a local grocery store that had been plastered with posters about her missing Mallory.

The woman got out of her car, shut the doors and left her infant alone in the car. "I stopped and watched and stood there," Sutton said. "I was looking for a poster about Mallory . . . . I would have shoved it in her face and just kept on walking."