US

Suspect Mayella Ortega Turns Herself In to Police After Posing As Social Worker to Kidnap Baby

By Richard Szabo

Authorities are questioning a California woman after she was accused of posing as a social worker to kidnap an Orange County newborn on May 31.

Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) is investigating Mayella Ortega, 38, after she turned herself in on June 7. The woman is accused of pretending to be a social worker and trying to kidnap a week-old baby at the 2300 block of South Evergreen Street in Santa Ana, 37 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

Police say Ortega came to the mother’s home in a white sports utility vehicle at about 11:30 a.m. local time, and tried to take the baby into protective custody without producing any identification or official paperwork.

“[Ortega said] I have to take your newborn and I say, ‘No, you do not want to take my baby,'” the mother told KABC.

The mother questioned Ortega’s credentials and the “social worker” threatened to return with the sheriff’s department and remove the baby from the home by force.

“I say, ‘Okay, if the sheriff has to come in, that’s fine but I do not want to give you my kid,'” the mother said.

After the mother reported Ortega to the police, the accused turned herself in and the mother positively identified her.

Police informed the mother that Ortega said she was not actually at the property to take the baby.

Orange County Social Services (OCSS) confirmed nobody called Mayella Ortega works for the agency, and there are no records linked to the mother’s home address.

SAPD said OCSS would normally arrive with law enforcement officers if they were planning to take a child away from parents or guardians.

SAPD homicide detectives are now preparing to interview Ortega to find out what she was actually trying to do on the day, and how she found the mother’s contact details so soon after the baby was born.

“How’d she get her personal information? That’s all scary to us,” SAPD Corporal Anthony Bertagna told KABC. “How did this woman know that this victim had a child less than two weeks ago, where she lives.”

The mother echoed this view. “Yes, I am scared,” she said.

No further information on Ortega’s identity and potential charges have been released and the investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information on the case is invited to contact the Santa Ana Police Department by calling 714-245-8665.