Valérie Poulin Collins, 21, has been charged with kidnapping and abduction in the case of baby Victoria, the newborn who was taken from a hospital in Trois-Rivières, Que., on Monday.
Poulin Collins was not present in court when the charges were officially laid Wednesday afternoon — she is in hospital in an unconscious state and intubated.
The cause of her condition is not known.
“The suspect is currently not able to appear in court given her health status,” said Crown prosecutor Marie-Ève Paquet.
Police have not yet been able to question her, but said there was sufficient evidence for them to lay charges.
The charges Poulin Collins faces carry maximum sentences ranging from 10 years to life in prison.
It’s not known when she might be able to appear in court.
“It’s impossible for her to communicate with, for example, her lawyer. It is especially impossible for her to understand the proceedings to come. So, for as long as she is in this state, we will delay the court appearance,” Paquet said.
Poulin Collins is in the same hospital where baby Victoria was taken Monday evening. She is under psychiatric observation, where doctors are evaluating her health to determine if she is fit to be questioned.
“We are waiting for the green light from the doctors to be able to question the 21-year-old suspect in this case. Then, the next step will be the court appearance. But for the moment, I can’t give a timeline,” said Sûreté du Québec spokesman Sgt. Claude Denis.
Amber Alert alerted public
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 Victoria from her mother and left the room with the newborn wrapped in a blue blanket.
Police issued an Amber Alert just after 7 p.m.
Sgt. Martine Asselin, of Quebec's provincial police force, said a lot of tips were called in after the Amber Alert was issued.
"The media really helped us put out the picture and the description fast. We could see on the TV, on the media, on Facebook, everything we needed and very fast.... The public was able to call us and give us information," said Asselin.
The baby was found three hours later after four young adults saw the alert on Facebook, and decided to help with the search. Police had shared a photo on social networks of the woman police were seeking.
The four told CBC News they went looking for the vehicle of the woman at the centre of the hunt, and found one that fit the description — then called police.
“We saw [the alert] on Facebook, and decided to go looking for red cars, and we saw the woman. We recognized her,” said Mélizanne Bergeron, 20.
Police said they arrested the suspect at her home.
They found baby Victoria, and returned her to the hospital.
Mélissa McMahon and Simon Boisclair are thrilled to have their baby back, and 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 McMahon.
Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette has called on all hospitals with maternity wards to review their security procedures.
Officials of the Centre hospitalier régional de Trois-Rivières said they will not comment not to interfere with the ongoing police investigation, but the region’s health and social services centre is carrying out an internal investigation.