By a Journal staff writer/With wire service reports
A conference to set a date for pre-trial hearings will be held on Wednesday, April 10 in the case of a woman accused of trying to kidnap a baby from Garden Grove Hospital and Medical Center last year after faking a pregnancy.
The conference will be held in Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.
Grisel Ramirez of Garden Grove faces charges of kidnapping and five felony counts of first degree burglary. If convicted, she faces up to 19 years and eight months in state prison.
Ramirez posed as a visitor to enter the hospital on April 6, 2012, where she attempted to abduct a baby, Garden Grove police Lt. Jeff Nightengale said.
Her estranged husband had no idea she wasn’t pregnant.
“She perpetuated this myth for several months, and they don’t live together and don’t see each other, so the husband totally believed it,’’ Nightengale said.
When the due date passed, Ramirez’s husband pressed her to meet the child and asked whether he needed to sign the birth certificate, police said.
“We interviewed him last night and he for sure thought he was the father of a baby girl,’’ Nightengale said at the time. “He was upset and devastated that it wasn’t true.’’
Ramirez, a waitress, may have approached other pregnant women and asked about their due dates and their baby’s gender at another Southern California hospital last month, police said.
One woman grew suspicious of the questions and told staff at Western Medical Center-Anaheim.
Garden Grove Medical Center Director Sofia Abrina said that Ramirez presented herself as a visitor who wanted to see a patient when she entered the hospital the day before.
Abrina said a sensor attached to a bracelet around the baby’s ankle set off alarms, and the staff began searching and counting patients until Ramirez was apprehended.
Ramirez is accused of entering the room of the baby’s mother and posing as a nurse who told the woman to shower before a doctor came to examine her. Police said that once the baby’s mother was out of the room, Ramirez put the newborn in a purple tie-dyed tote bag and tried to carry her out of the ward.
Many hospital wards have security systems where patients, such as newborns or those with Alzheimer’s disease, are tagged with an electronic sensor – usually in a bracelet or anklet – that sets off an alarm when the patient leaves a certain perimeter.
The baby wasn’t harmed during the short time she was in the tote and was returned to her mother.