CHICAGO — A Texas nurse has been charged with murder for shooting a young mother and kidnapping her three-day-old baby outside a pediatrician's office, officials said Wednesday.
Verna McClain, 30, had recently suffered a miscarriage but did not tell her fiance about it, local media reported. She allegedly kidnapped the baby in hopes of passing him off as her own.
Police managed to find the unharmed baby after several desperate hours of searching by tracing the suspect's Lexus to a nearby apartment complex.
McClain didn't have the baby when she returned home, but told police little Keegan Schuchardt could be found at her sister's house.
"To recover a child who was kidnapped and a mother killed by a stranger within no connection within five or six hours is as good of police work as you can do," Lieutenant Dan Norris of the Montgomery County sheriff department told reporters.
McClain was parked in front of a pediatrician's office in Spring, Texas, when Kala Golden, 28, emerged with her son after a checkup on Tuesday afternoon.
She allegedly shot Golden and grabbed the baby, but Golden kept fighting even as blood was pouring out of her wounds.
Golden tried to grab her son out the car and was knocked to the ground as it sped away. Witnesses said she was screaming "my baby" as she struggled to get Keegan back.
Witnesses used Golden's cell phone to contact her husband and mother. She died in hospital before her husband could get there.
Keith Schuchardt said that while he couldn't understand why anyone would want to harm his wife he was relieved to have his son back safe in his arms.
"It was nice to know he's still alive," the distraught father told reporters outside his home.
The shooting sent shockwaves through the community.
"I feel so, so, so terrible for the family and the baby that will never get to know his mother," neighbor Amanda Johnson told KHOU news.
"I can't imagine. I have an 8-year-old. I can't imagine not being able to see him grow up. It's really sad."
[Image via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons licensed]