Romance scam ends in abduction of Kennewick baby

Romance scam ends in abduction of Kennewick baby

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A chilling and elaborate scheme ended in the kidnapping of a six-month-old baby. Investigators believe the child's mother was tricked into handing him over to a con artist. Police worked tirelessly to bring the baby home safely.

The suspect, Fern Little Calf made her first appearance in court on Monday afternoon. Detectives believe she posed as a man on the internet to lure a mother and her children from Kennewick to Spokane.

"I was under the impression that I was going to see my boyfriend and say good bye," the victim's mother Lekeishia Johnson said. "I was told he was in a car crash. He didn't exist, unfortunately."

In fact, Johnson believes the man she had been messaging with for several weeks, her supposed boyfriend, was actually this woman, Fern Little Calf. Johnson said Little Calf posed as a family member of this fake boyfriend and told her he was in the hospital. Court documents state that Little Calf asked a man she met online to drive Lekeishia and her three children from Kennewick to a Spokane hospital.

"I went upstairs (in the hospital) and waited and waited," Johnson said. "I went downstairs and she was gone."

Johnson realized the boyfriend not only wasn't a patient at the hospital but likely doesn't exist at all.

Her other two children were left with the man who gave them a ride to Spokane. That man knew something wasn't right according to court documents, and brought the kids to the police station. Court documents state the baby stayed with Little Calf and the two of them disappeared.

"My son was gone," Johnson said. "She didn't answer any of my messages, she didn't answer my mom's (messages.) She didn't answer my phone calls. I tried to get a hold of her to bring him to me."

Detectives began communicating with Little Calf, who they suspect used multiple identities. Within hours, they tracked her, and the baby down.

"I got to hold my son the morning they found him," Johnson said. "After that, he was taken."

All three of Johnson's kids are with CPS. She said the whole thing rocked her to her core.

"I want people to know, don't trust anybody," she said. "Don't meet anybody online and don't tell them you have kids."

In court on Monday, the judge noted that Little Calf does not appear to have any ties to the area and has only been here around a year. Her bond was set at $50,000.

(story, photo, and video: Hayley Guenthner, KHQ Local News Anchor & Reporter)

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