Mélissa McMahon and Simon Boisclair have their newborn daughter Victoria back in their arms after she was abducted from her hospital room, and they thank Quebecers for making that happen.
“I never thought Quebec could be so helpful and considerate. We got a huge wave of love from the entire population. It helped us get through it,” said Mélissa McMahon, who gave birth Sunday to her fourth child, Victoria.
Quebec provincial police said that just before 7 p.m. ET Monday, a woman dressed as a nurse showed up at the Trois-Rivières hospital and entered the maternity ward.
Police said the woman took the baby from the mother, and left the room with the newborn wrapped in a blue blanket.
“My wife had a sort of maternal instinct — which I cannot understand. She noticed something was off. She left to go get the baby, and she wasn’t able to find her. She called me and said our child had been kidnapped,” Boisclair said.
“I’m like a mother hen with my other kids. I’m not controlling, but I always have to have my eyes on them … I just had a really bad feeling. Thankfully, I had this bad feeling because that led to the turn of events,” McMahon said.
An Amber Alert, issued at around 7 p.m. ET, included details of the suspect's red Toyota Yaris hatchback with a "Bébé à bord" ("Baby on Board") sticker.
The four friends — Mélizanne Bergeron, her twin sister Sharelle, Marc-Andre Coté and Charlène Plante — were hanging out last night when they spotted news of the Amber Alert on Facebook.
“We said, ‘Why don’t we go look for the car? It couldn’t have gotten that far,’” said Plante.
As they were heading toward the hospital, they saw a picture of the suspect and a description of the vehicle posted on Facebook.
Plante said she immediately recognized the woman as her former neighbour.
'It’s a good feeling to know that you made a family happy.' —Charlène Plante, one of four friends who helped locate Baby Victoria
The group went to the building where the former neighbour lived and saw a red car with a Baby on Board sign that matched the Amber Alert description.
“The patio door was open. The lights were on. It was clear that she was there,” said Mélizanne Bergeron.
The friends called the police and within minutes the baby was in the arms of officers.
Two of the friends, who have just graduated from nursing school, said they breathed a sigh of relief when they saw that the baby was healthy and had not been harmed.
“We are so proud,” Bergeron said.
“It was the biggest emotion I ever had. I was very happy for the family and everything. I don’t really have the words for it, but it was the best [feeling] we’ve experienced in our lives.”
Everyone involved in the recovery was swept with emotion.
"It was a beautiful moment.… The police officer cried, the nurses cried, the investigators cried, and all the doctors too — everyone was so happy with the outcome, and with little Victoria safe and sound,” McMahon said through tears.
“It was even better than her birth. I have no words to describe it,” Boisclair said.
Bergeron and Plante said they are grateful that everything worked out as it did and that the family can now focus on welcoming their newest addition home.
“It’s a good feeling to know that you made a family happy by finding their baby and knowing they can [move on] with some relief,” Plante said.
“We’re very happy for them.”
The 21-year-old suspect is now in hospital and is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation. Police said it is not yet known if there was any previous connection between her and the baby's family.