It was a heart-stopping morning for a San Jose mother after her SUV was stolen with her 11-month-old baby girl sitting in the backseat. Five hours later the child was located safe and sound. Damian Trujillo reports.
A big sigh of relief could be heard across the South Bay midday Monday after San Jose police located a missing child.
The eleven month old baby was the subject of an Amber Alert that lasted more than four hours. The child's mother reported her missing at 6:45 a.m. Monday morning. A woman called 911 to report someone had stolen her vehicle with her baby inside.
San Jose police found the stolen car at an apartment complex near the Seven Trees Community Center on Amargosa Court at 11:15 a.m. The car was located about six miles from where the child was last seen.
Someone called 911 to say they spotted the SUV. Police said when they arrived the baby was in the back seat crying.
Helicopter video taken from over the scene showed a police officer carrying the child in his arms to a waiting ambulance. The ambulance was used only as a precaution, according to police.
The baby was taken to a nearby hospital where she was to be reunited with her mother.
An Amber Alert was issued by the CHP Monday morning after someone stole a 2006 Jeep Cherokee or Liberty SUV with a child inside. Authorities canceled that Amber Alert at 11:45 a.m.
The vehicle was stolen at 6:43 a.m. in San Jose on Amador Court. That is near Story Road and Jackson (see map below).
San Jose police Sgt. Jason Dwyer said from the beginning officers treated the case as if the little girl's life is held in the balance.
The baby's first birthday is just four days away. Her name is Gabriella Milton Quintero. She was wearing a green outfit and her car seat is the color purple.
The little girl's mother, Graciella Quintero, said she left the child in the vehicle as she continued to get items from in the house to load into the vehicle. She told police that she hadn't even strapped her into the car seat yet. The keys were in the ignition, but the car had not been started.
Police said they don't know if the motive was kidnapping or auto theft. They said there have been cases where someone has stolen a car not realizing they were taken a child. In many of those case, the car with the child inside is abandoned unharmed. That was the case this time.
The suspect is still on the loose, according to police who said they found the baby alone in the vehicle.
They are now turning the search for the person who took the baby. Officers were going door to door in the area where the child was found in a search for witnesses or surveillance photos or video that might have captured the suspect.
Quintero, who is a single mother, did not recognize the suspect but saw her standing nearby before the car was stolen, Dwyer said.
"The mother is understandably shaken," Dwyer said. "It's very difficult to interview someone in that condition."