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DateLine Sunday, 30 December 2007

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All for the love of a baby

Relentless media exposure reveal a vital clue:

It was the relentless media exposure that brought about the vital clue leading to the arrest of the woman suspect at her home at Kannatte Road, Thalapathpitiya.

The suspect woman masquerading as a good samaritan had stolen the newly born infant of Shamalee Wijeyakon from the Kalubovila hospital last week raising security concerns of the hospital.

Meanwhile a male employee of the hospital and a woman janitor working for a private cleaning company were also arrested following the statement made by the main suspect to the Kohuwela police station. It was learnt that the hospital employees and the janitor had helped the woman to steal the infant from the maternity ward.

Meanwhile the public were aghast when they heard of the news of a newly born infant being stolen while the mother was in the bathroom. Ostensibly the lax security which prevailed at the hospital warrants an inquiry by the Health Department.

Those found guilty should be punished forthwith for their negligence. However the matter should not be swept under a rug when considering the nature of the offence.

Just think of the agony and despair the hapless mother underwent that will haunt her for the rest of her life. It all came to light when people started talking about it following media coverage on the harrowing incident.

It caught the eye of a mother from Moratuwa who gave birth at the Kalubovila hospital two weeks prior to t he incident. In a flash she remembered vividly of the young woman who befriended her after giving birth to a son at the Kalubovila hospital. The woman resembled the sketch shown on television for the public to identify.

According to the woman it was just a coincidence. She could not for a moment believe the woman who visited her Moratuwa home a fortnight ago was sought by the police for a despicable crime.

She remembers the suspect woman bringing a present for their infant son. Even though she was a stranger to them she had taken an interest of the infant, thought the mother.

After exchanging pleasantries the two women had chatted for a while on various domestic issues facing them. But what the mother failed to understand was that the woman had earlier attempted to remove her infant from the Kalubovilla hospital. It was a futile attempt, police said.

Before she left home that day she left her mobile cellular number which she hastily scribbled on a piece of paper. However it was after seeing the sketch on television, that thoughts flashed across her mind. She told her husband the woman she befriended at the Kalubovila hospital resembled the suspect woman the police were looking for.

Her husband then promptly conveyed this information to his brother who is a police sergeant at the Padukka police station. He in turn had informed a Woman Police

Constable (WPC) at the same police station.

The Woman Police Constable had contacted the Kohuwela police and given the vital information they were looking for. After being tipped off, the OIC Kohuwela Police Station, Chief Inspector Prassana Brahmanage detailed Chief Inspector U. D. Alawatte and a team of Police officers to discover the location where the suspect was residing. Subsequently the police learnt that the woman suspect was residing at Kannatte road, at Thalapthpitiya in the Mirihana area.

A police party led by Chief Inspector Alawatte and the parents of the infant, Shamalee and her husband Wasantha Fernando arrived at the house of the suspect at Thalapthpitiya last Monday. When the parents entered the room they could not believe their own eyes.

What they found was their stolen infant lying on a bed draped in a rose coloured dress. Tears welled into the eyes of both parents. Meanwhile the woman denied having stolen the child. She told the policemen that the infant son was hers whom she delivered at the Sri Jayawardenapura hospital. However she later admitted that she stole the child as she desperately needed a son.

The police further questioned the suspect woman (28) and learnt that she was a divorcee who married for the second time. She had worked at several garment factories and has a 12 year old daughter by her previous marriage. Meanwhile police have launched a manhunt for her husband who had disappeared from home.

He was a tourist guide who later became a bus driver. Police said the motive for stealing the infant could not be established until they question her husband. Stealing infants from their parents could be a well organised racket perpetrated by an organised gang with foreign assistance.

It could be for a sinister purpose. A few months ago it was highlighted in the foreign press that infants were stolen to obtain their body parts.

Meanwhile the hospital employee taken into custody is a resident of Thalangama area. He along with the woman janitor taken into custody were produced before court and remanded for a further period.

Subsequently it was revealed that the hospital employee had met the main suspect at the Kalubovila hospital some time back. She had requested him to find a child and the employee had demanded Rs. 26,000 for the job. The main woman suspect had told the police that her husband had threatened to divorce her if she does not bear a child from him.

jj@sundayobserver.lk
 

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