An Ohio woman was allegedly caught trying to smuggle a 6-day-old baby on an airplane in her carry-on luggage.
Jennifer Erin Talbot, 43, was arrested Wednesday in the Philippines after authorities say she was discovered with the baby during a security check at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila as she was trying to board a flight to the United States, NBC News reports.
“[The] infant was hidden in the oversized belt bag and (she) did not declare nor present to the immigration inspector during departure formalities,” the Bureau of Immigration said, according to CNN Philippines.
Authorities said Talbot had been attempting to board a Delta flight to Detroit—with her final destination being Columbus, Ohio––when she was discovered with the surprising cargo.
“We worked in coordination with the U.S.-based airline who helped us apprehend the passenger at the boarding gate,” Grifton Medina of the National Bureau of Investigation told NBC News.
He said Talbot did not have the baby in her carry-on when the bag was X-rayed but hid the baby inside the bag at check-in and when she passed immigration counters.
Talbot reportedly told authorities that she was the child’s aunt but did not have a passport or any other documentation that would confirm the connection.
Authorities said in a press conference Thursday that the incident had been an attempted illegal adoption, according to The New York Post. Talbot reportedly stayed with the baby's teenage mother before the birth and was carrying a notarized affidavit that stated she was planning to adopt the baby. The affidavit did not contain the mother's signature, however.
The National Bureau of Investigation has charged Talbot with human trafficking, child abuse, kidnapping and illegal detention. She could face life in prison if convicted, the Post reports.
The baby boy's biological mother is also facing charges along with the baby's biological father, officials said during the press conference. Both remain at large.
The infant is currently in the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal said his security team plans to conduct an investigation into the incident.
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