The parent of a day-old baby boy kidnaped Friday night from his mother's room in George Washington Univeristy Hospital made an emotional plea yesterday for the safe return of their son.
"I would like to have my baby back," said Linda Jackson, 24, as she sat in a wheelchair with her hands clasped in her lap and tears rolling down her face. "If whoever's got him could just leave him somewhere. Tell us where to pick him up. If they can just do that."
D.C. police and FBI agents who joined the investigation yesterday said they have no motives or suspects in the mysterious disappearance of the baby. But one police investigator said it was likely that the kidnaper was familiar with the hospital and its security arrangements.
"It would have to be someone who knows about the hospital operations and patients," said D.C. robbery detective Bobby Stanford. The police robbery squad routinely investigates kidnapings.
The 5-pound, 11-ounce baby, who was born early Thursday morning, was kidnaped about 8:15 p.m. Friday when his mother left their third-floor maternity room briefly in response to a telephone call, police officials said.
The baby was described by a hospital physician as healthy and requiring "fairly ordinary newborn care," including regular feeding and a stable temperature. The child had not yet been named, but Jackson said yesterday that he will be named after the father, Walthon Lee.
Hospital officials and police investigators began reviewing the hospital's security procedures yesterday. Hospital officials declined to discuss the procedures other than to say they were adequate. But one D.C. police investigator said, "After any incident like this, you check out every security measure possible to see if things need to be changed."
Investigators said the hospital has several closed-circuit television cameras and four or five security officers in civilian clothes who patrol the building at 901 23rd St. NW.
The investigators also said that visitors could generally go directly to a patient's room if they knew where the room was.
According to a police detective, Jackson's room was at the opposite end of the hall from the nurse's station. Nearby there are two exits.
Jackson and her baby were the only occupants of the semi-private room.
Yesterday Jackson, a clerk for the D.C. public schools, described Friday nights events. Standing behind her wheelchair was the child's father, Lee, 22, a security officer for Raven Systems and Research Inc. in the District.
Jackson said a woman had called and asked if the baby was in her room. "I said yeah," Jackson said. "Then she said we have some papers for you to sign down in O.B. [the obstetrics room]."
Since she had been told by the nurses that it was all right to leave the baby alone briefly, Jackson said, she left and went to the obstetrics room, about a minute's walk away.
When she got there, she said, "They said they didn't have any papers for me to sign."
Jackson said she returned immediately to her room, and discovered that the baby was gone. The child was wearing a white t-shirt and a diaper and was wrapped in a white blanket.
Jackson and Lee said they have no idea who could have taken the baby.
"I just don't know," said Lee, a short, slim man, who nervously lit cigarette after cigarette yesterday.
"I don't know if there's someone who hates her or someone who's trying to get back at me. . . . We just want the baby back."
Lee, who said he intends to marry Jackson, said the couple was excited about their first child. "I was looking forward to caring for the baby," said Jackson. The couple lives at 5278 Marlboro Pike in the Hillside community of Prince George's County.
Dr. George W. Bailey, the baby's physician, said the child is "a healthy, thriving boy."
He said the baby was circumcised Friday and that special attention must be given to make sure the area remains clean.
Bailey said the baby should be fed two to four ounces of baby formula every three to four hours.
"It's a shock," Bailey said of the kidnaping. "I really feel compassion for this poor woman. Here she's carried this child for nine months and it's taken from her. The parents are going through a tremendous ordeal."
Police investigators said they knew of only one other kidnaping of ababy from a D.C. hospital in recent memory.
In 1971, a child was kidnaped from the old Freedmen's Hospital, predecessor of the Howard University Hospital. A woman took her 2-month-old boy to the hospital and gave him to a woman who identified herself falsely as a welfare worker.
The woman, who was neither a hospital employe nora welfare worker, disappeared with the child. The mother and her son were reunited after an 11-day search and an unemployed hotel maid was arrested in connection with that kidnaping. CAPTION: Picture, LINDA JACKSON . . . "Tell us where to pick him up"