Ladson woman kidnapped baby to raise it as her own, investigators say

The woman who drove off with her friend's baby while the friend was in a Ladson drugstore Wednesday was not merely pulling a prank, according to investigators.

April Michelle Hernandez Del Rio, 32, of Royal Road in Ladson, intended to keep the child, Charleston County Sheriff's Office Detective Matt Downing said at her bond hearing Thursday.

Judge Linda Lombard set Del Rio's bail at $100,000 on a kidnapping charge.

"The defendant said it was her intention to abscond with the child," Downing told Lombard.

The parents were in court, with their 9-day-old son in an infant carrier.

"For about three hours, they went through a parent's worst nightmare," Downing said.

About 3:45 p.m. Thursday, the mother went into the CVS at Ladson Road and U.S. Highway 78 to get medicine for the child, leaving the infant in the car with a friend, according to Downing. She came out to find that the friend had driven off with the child.

More than a dozen agencies searched for the white Pontiac Bonneville before it was pulled over about 6:30 p.m. at U.S. 78 and Van Oshen Road. The baby was recovered and Del Rio arrested.

Del Rio told investigators she took the child "with the express purpose of raising it as her own," according to the arrest affidavit.

She was being held in the Charleston County jail Thursday.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.

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