Photo of Alouette Day-Moreno-Baltierra, a missing California toddler who was found alive with a woman claiming to be the child’s grandmother at the University of Kentucky in Lexington
LEXINGTON, KY — Two University of Kentucky police officers have found a toddler whose mother reported her missing to the Los Angeles Police Department a couple of months ago.
Campus police officers Jennifer Ockerman and Emily Smith spotted a woman pushing a stroller with a little girl strapped into the seat on December 27, 2012. They were concerned because the child was under-dressed in the cold weather. According to reports, she was not wearing shoes, socks or a jacket and without hesitation, the officer’s approached the two of them.
“It was obvious that the infant looked like she had been out in the weather for a while,” University of Kentucky Police Chief Joe Monroe said. “Her face was red, she was showing some signs of potential frostbite or hypothermia. So, we did take the initiative to go ahead and get the child some medical treatment.”
The woman, identified as 62-year-old Maria Baltierra-Dejesus, tried to shield the toddler’s face, claiming to be the her grandmother and refused to answer questions. She was immediately placed under arrest.
The child was identified as 17-month-old Alouette Day-Moreno-Baltierra and upon further investigation, authorities discovered that the Alouette is a missing child from California. Her mother had apparently reported her missing to the Los Angeles Police Department 10 weeks prior on October 15, 2012.
Alouette has been placed in the temporary custody of Kentucky Child Protective Services while Baltierra-Dejesus faces charges of child endangerment and custodial interference. She could face felony charges in California for taking the child.
Meanwhile, authorities are still trying to figure out why Baltierra-Dejesus, who had a New York address, was in Kentucky or whether she really is the child’s grandmother. They did find Alouette’s birth certificate in Baltierra-Dejesus’s possession along with the a passport with evidence showing she tried to leave the country twice.
Baltierra-Dejesus has been “very uncooperative,” said Monroe.
“We’re not sure exactly who she is at this point. We’re still trying to locate that,” Monroe said. “It’s very strange … Honestly, it was just kind a coincidence that she ended up here.”
“This is an example of where the responding officers followed a gut feeling that something just wasn’t right with the situation,” Monroe said Friday.
Alouette Day Moreno Baltierra is said to be doing good and will be reunited with her family soon.