Child taken from hospital turned over to APD

ANCHORAGE — Anchorage police have arrested two parents accused of fleeing a hospital Tuesday with their 3-day-old boy when social workers attempted to check on the baby.

Taimato Galo Jr., 32, and Monica Kate Vasquez, 30, are charged with misdemeanor nonsupport, a charge typically levied against a child’s guardian for failing to provide the child appropriate medical care, among other things.

According to the charges, Vasquez admitted to hospital staff that she used methamphetamine and alcohol several months before giving birth to her son, Max, on Sunday. The staff put pads in Max’s diapers to collect urine for drug testing, but Vasquez removed them each time, the charges say.

Vazquez would also leave the maternity ward “routinely” and return with a changed demeanor and glossy eyes, an indication she was using drugs, police said. Hospital staff told a detective that the baby seemed to be showing signs of drug withdrawal, though they were unsure because Vasquez refused to let them test him.

On Tuesday, an investigator with the state Office of Children’s Services tried to interview Vasquez, but she became “hostile and combative,” the charging document says. When the investigator went to call her supervisor, Vasquez gave the baby to Galo, the father, and they apparently left the hospital separately, the charges say.

A massive search with dozens of police officers and an Alaska State Troopers helicopter, equipped with infrared scanners, failed to find Vasquez, Galo or the child. Det. Leonard Torres said every available patrol officer and detective, as well as at least two lieutenants, a sergeant and additional children’s services investigators, joined in the search. But Vasquez and Galo still slipped away, Torres said.

It was midday Wednesday when police arrested Vasquez at her lawyer’s office, Torres said. Galo, who had the infant, turned himself in at the Anchorage Police Department, where he was arrested and state social workers took the child.

The social workers said baby Max is doing well, Torres said.

“That’s always a positive note,” he added.


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