Saturday, April 5, 2008

Another judge denies bail for baby-snatching suspect

Jennifer Latham makes a Seminole County court appearance Tuesday, April 1, 2008. A judge today ordered a Sanford woman, accused of stealing a one-day-old baby from his mother's hospital room held without bond on a new charge of making a false statement on a bond application. (RED HUBER, ORLANDO SENTINEL / April 1, 2008)

The woman accused of snatching an infant from the hospital will stay in custody until her trial.

Rene Stutzman

Sentinel Staff Writer

April 3, 2008


For the second time in as many days, a judge Wednesday ordered a woman accused of kidnapping a baby from a hospital jailed without bail.

This time it was Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson. After a 10-minute hearing, she concluded that because Jennifer Latham, 39, of Sanford was charged with kidnapping, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, she should stay locked in the Seminole County Jail until her trial.

Nelson's decision had no immediate impact because another judge ruled Tuesday that Latham should remain in jail with no bail on a separate charge.

Latham was arrested Friday about an hour after Seminole County authorities issued a bulletin: A day-old baby had been abducted from Central Florida Regional Hospital.

A Lake Mary police officer stopped Latham's Chevrolet Blazer on Interstate 4 about an hour later and found a newborn boy in an infant seat. Latham told him the baby was hers, but Sanford police say he was the boy taken from his mother's room at the hospital by a woman posing as a hospital employee.

The baby has since been reunited with his mother.

Latham said nothing at Wednesday's hearing.

It took place because prosecutors wanted to reverse a four-day-old decision made by another judge. On Saturday, when Latham made her initial court appearance, Seminole County Judge Ralph Eriksson ordered her released from jail, saying she need not post bail if she was fitted with an electronic monitor.

Before she could be released, though, Seminole County deputies rearrested her Monday, accusing her of lying to authorities about her criminal history.

Defense attorney Jeff Leukel on Wednesday said Latham didn't lie to anyone and that she provided generally accurate information -- including details about past arrests -- to a jail employee who was filling out routine paperwork.

The fact that a judge used that paperwork to make a decision about bail did not mean that Latham lied on a bond application, the formal charge against her, Leukel said.

Rene Stutzman can be reached at 407-324-7294 or

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