Merced County infant abduction case is frightening and unusual

FRESNO, Calif.

Hickey said, "It is a very strong desire to have that child and their desire is to care for that child and they are willing to do whatever they can and in this case it was unfortunate they wanted to kill. "

Hickey notes the suspect in the Merced County Case, Theresa Robles, (aka Maria Ceja) is reported to have lost a pregnancy in the past year. He says such losses can prompt drastic behavior.

"There is an emotional and bio-basis for this. There is this post partum depression and a sense of loss," said Hickey. "And so they want to fix that, and compensate somehow."

While it was initially reported that Robles and her alleged accomplice, Jose Alvarado were married, and had three children, it's since been learned the couple only recently came together, and the children are Robles, from a previous relationship.

Cathy Nahirney an expert on Infant Abduction at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children notes that sometimes women who abduct want a baby to reinforce their relationship with a man.

"It may be a new relationship for the female abductor and the male abductor," said Nahirney. "That they may be in a new relationship and she was unable to conceive with this new partner and she wanted to have this baby to cement the relationship with him."

Dr. Hickey says whatever the motive, it's highly unusual for the man in the relationship to be actively involved in the abduction. In this case, Alvarado is accused of strangling the victim, Ana DeCeja.

The latest statistics from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children show there have been 271 cases reported nation-wide since they started tracking this crime in 1983.

Of those 12 babies were never found. 34 of the cases were in California. About one in four of the infant abductions or 26 percent involved violence to the mother.

Such was the Fresno case of Margarita Florez Ramirez, who was killed and her baby cut from her womb. The killer had befriended her at a clinic. It's believed that Theresa Robles became acquainted with her alleged victim Ana DeCeja, at a clinic as well.

Nahirney says medical facilities are a common point for these rare crimes. "Many of the cases we have the women are befriended by the abductor during the course of their pregnancy or while they are at the hospital or the clinic. It's an easy way, Oh I'm pregnant too, and they talk the talk and walk the walk."

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