Woman accused of posing as Child Protective Services worker to take baby

Published: Mar. 18, 2023 at 8:18 AM CDT
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CANTON, Ohio (WEWS) - A woman posing as a Child Protective Services worker allegedly kidnapped a 3-week-old baby.

It happened at a home in Canton, leading to a frantic search.

A 911 call came from a mother: “I just got off the phone with CPS. They do not have anything in their records about her. My daughter was stolen.”

The call came a day after a stranger showed up Thursday morning to an apartment, claiming to work with Child Protective Services.

“Somebody came by today, left me with all three of my sons, took my daughter,” the mother said.

The woman wearing a name badge and carrying paperwork about the 3-week old’s medical condition took off with the baby, the mother said.

You can hear the mother’s confusion.

“And it’s been almost 16 hours since they took her, and I have not received a call from them. They didn’t leave me with any information to call. I still have custody of her,” the mother said.

When she got in touch with Child Protective Services Friday morning, the family realized the woman was lying.

“The only reason that she even got out of my house with my daughter was because she refused to put her down,” the mother said.

After verifying Child Protective Services did not have an open case with the family, Canton police used license plate readers and surveillance footage to identify a suspect vehicle.

“Within two hours of learning that this was a kidnapping, we had the safe recovery of the child in a different county.” Canton Police Chief John Gabbard said.

Gabbard said the department was seconds away from issuing an Amber Alert when the Coshocton County Sheriff’s office found a pair of suspects more than 65 miles away.

The baby was unharmed.

“At least in this circumstance, we can start with the foundation that we have a safe child,” he said.

Sapphire McDougleh, 31, and Brandon Savage, 21, are facing kidnapping charges.

The chief says the baby’s parents did the right thing by reaching out to police and cautions others to trust their gut if something doesn’t seem right.

“Don’t take anyone’s word for anything, unless you have a law enforcement officer or paperwork that’s signed by a judge that is legitimate,” Gabbard said. “It’s always OK to ask questions and to verify information.”