Ottawa

Woman accused of abducting newborn after befriending mother

Ottawa police have laid 10 charges including abduction and assault against a 32-year-old woman accused of abducting an eight-day-old infant on Mother's Day.

Police say accused used bear spray during alleged abduction of 8-day-old infant

Ottawa police say an eight-day-old infant was physically unharmed after an attempted abduction on Sunday. (Olivier Plante/CBC)

Ottawa police have laid 10 charges including abduction and assault against a 32-year-old woman accused of abducting an eight-day-old infant on Mother's Day.

In a news release issued Monday, police said the accused and new mother had been talking on a social media chat group. On Friday, the accused told the new mother she had won a prize and brought a gift to her home in west Ottawa, police said.

The accused allegedly returned to the home around 1:40 p.m. ET Sunday, forced her way inside, used bear spray to subdue the home's occupants and left with the newborn.

Police said neighbours, alerted by the fracas, intervened, and one "detained" the woman until officers arrived.

The child was physically unharmed, police said.

WATCH | Woman arrested in abduction case:

Ottawa police arrest Quebec woman after alleged child abduction

CBC News Ottawa

3 months ago
1:02
Sgt. Martin Groulx says the accused, a 32-year-old woman from Shawville, Que., met an Ottawa mother in a Facebook group. The woman is now accused of forcing her way into the Ottawa woman's home and abducting an eight-day-old infant. 1:02

The woman, Nicole Shanks of Shawville, Que., faces the following charges:

  • Abduction of a person under 14.
  • Assault.
  • Assault with a weapon.
  • Carrying a concealed weapon.
  • Possession of a dangerous weapon.
  • Breaking and entering a house with intent.
  • Harassment by watching and besetting.
  • Three counts of administering a noxious substance with intent to endanger life.

Shanks has a criminal record in Quebec. In June 2019, she was charged with obstructing a peace officer and impersonating another person. The impersonation charge was ultimately withdrawn. Shanks pleaded guilty to obstructing an officer and was sentenced to a fine and a year of probation.

In April 2020, she was charged with failing to comply with an undertaking. She pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay a fine.

Shanks appeared in court Monday morning, according to police, and remains in custody until her next expected appearance on Friday.

Police said investigators with the sexual assault and child abuse unit believe the accused may have talked to other new mothers on similar groups.

Anyone with information is asked to call that unit at 613-236-1222, extension 5944.

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