Woman charged in killing of pregnant woman, taking baby
December 17, 2004
MARYVILLE, Mo. – Authorities Friday arrested a woman they allege came to the home of an eight-months-pregnant woman – purportedly to buy a dog – then strangled her and cut the baby from her womb. Authorities found the abducted infant in good health, ending a day of frantic searching.
According to a criminal complaint, Lisa M. Montgomery admitted she strangled Bobbie Jo Stinnett and took her baby. The complaint also said Montgomery lied to her husband about giving birth, although U.S. Attorney Todd Graves declined to give a motive for the crime.
Stinnett’s mother found the 23-year-old nearly dead Thursday in her northwest Missouri home. Paramedics tried to revive her, but she was pronounced dead at a hospital.
The baby was found Friday in an eastern Kansas home; a red Honda hatchback matching a description offered earlier by police was in the driveway.
Although DNA tests were pending to confirm the baby’s identity, authorities called off the Amber Alert issued for the child.
“We’re confident we have the little girl that was taken from Skidmore (Mo.),” Nodaway County Sheriff Ben Espey said during a news conference in Maryville. FBI agent Rick Thornton said the father has been reunited with the baby.
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Montgomery, 36, of Melvern, Kan., was charged with kidnapping resulting in death, Graves said.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Sheldon Lyon said earlier in the day that authorities were questioning a man and a woman who were in the place where the baby was found. Graves said the investigation was ongoing but would not say if additional charges might be filed or if there was another suspect.
Graves said Montgomery contacted Stinnett through an online message board. Montgomery was seeking to buy a dog from Stinnett, who raised rat terriers, he said.
Espey said there was no indication of forced entry into Stinnett’s home. He said he believes Stinnett was strangled and resisted the attack. He said there was blond hair found in her hands.