Police went door-to-door yesterday in the Flag House Courts public housing project, seeking a 17-year-old girl for questioning in the abduction of a three-month-old baby last week in front of the University of Maryland Medical Center.
The girl, identified by police as Shaneka Johnson, befriended the infant's mother Tuesday. Police said they believe she took the infant girl from Tahaisha Williams as Ms. Williams waited in a taxi Tuesday evening.
Yesterday, police searched the 400 block of N. Montford Ave. in East Baltimore, the Johnson girl's last known address. They also searched the Flag House Courts, where she was known to stay.
Lt. Larry Leeson said the Johnson girl was identified after a relative called police, saying the girl -- who has no children of her own -- was seen with the baby Friday. He said the girl may have taken the baby to win back an ex-boyfriend.
Police said the Johnson girl told her boyfriend she gave birth to the baby in August, but the boyfriend did not believe her because the baby looked too old to be a newborn. The abducted infant, Tahsine Imani Williams, was born May 19.
Police described the Johnson girl as 5 feet 7 inches tall, 200 pounds, with a medium brown complexion. She last was seen wearing a clear knapsack and carrying a baby in a shoulder harness.
Yesterday, Ms. Williams paced outside her Westport home and said she had slept little the night before. Standing in the bright sunlight in a torn jacket, Ms. Williams, a single mother, said she met the Johnson girl Tuesday afternoon while waiting for a bus and invited her to visit a friend.
The girl, who gave her name as "Darleisha," showed no signs of being a threat and often played with baby Tahsine as they rode a bus to Northern Parkway and McClean Boulevard in North Baltimore.
"She was friendly, and we talked about birth, about husbands, about boyfriends. She even talked about postpartum depression," Ms. Williams said.
After the visit, the two women and the baby took a taxi downtown where "Darleisha" said she had to reclaim her own child from an aunt working as a security guard at University of Maryland Hospital.
When they arrived at the hospital, "Darleisha," who had been holding the baby during the ride, jumped out of the cab with the baby in her arms and said she would be right back, Ms. Williams said.
When the girl did not return after 20 minutes, Ms. Williams became alarmed and contacted hospital security guards. They searched for the woman and the baby, then called police.
Yesterday, Ms. Williams said her baby wore diamond stud pierced earrings, a white T-shirt and was wrapped in a blue and white quilt. She was holding a white teddy bear with a pink nose when she was taken.
"She's a happy baby. She smiles a lot, and the only time she cries is when she's hungry, when she's wet or wants to be picked up," said Ms. Williams, who was disappointed that police told her to stay home while they conduct their search.
"If I could leave I'd go look for her myself," she said. "I can't hold it in much longer," she said of her emotions. Anyone with any information is asked to call police at 396-2642.