A 39-year-old woman posed as a child protective services employee in an attempt to kidnap a newborn, Las Vegas police said Wednesday.
Joanna Boyd faces charges of forgery, attempted kidnapping, possession of a stolen vehicle, impersonating a public officer and being a felon in possession of a stun gun.
The Metropolitan Police Department encountered Boyd about 12:25 p.m. Monday in the 4300 block of Las Vegas Boulevard North, after she had called 911 requesting that officers stand by “as she performed an emergency removal order of a newborn child,” Capt. Nichole Splinter said at a Wednesday morning news conference.
Police frequently stand by while child protective services employees remove children from homes deemed unsafe, in case the removal turns combative, Splinter said.
“She was actually brazen enough to place that call and have Metro with her, which would probably have made it look much simpler to the family to go there and attempt to remove this child,” Splinter said.
Police said Boyd provided a suspicious story and turned over illegitimate documents. She also failed to provide proper Clark County employee identification documents and was driving a stolen vehicle, police said.
“She made an effort to make these efforts look legit, but again, it was through the solid police work from these officers that actually recognized that there’s something wrong here and went further to prevent this,” Splinter said.
Boyd had never met the parents, but they had spoken through Facebook about buying clothes for the three-week-old baby, Splinter said. Boyd had provided accurate dates of birth for the child and the parents, because the parents had posted that information on Facebook.
Despite the correct information, the two officers — who are in field training and were with a training officer — thought the documentation appeared fraudulent and called child protective services to verify her employment, Splinter said.
“They had no idea who she was,” she said.
Boyd told police she had planned to keep the baby, and that her own children had been taken away, Splinter said.
Police were investigating the motive, as well as whether she had attempted something similar before or whether she had a background in child protective services.
Boyd is a felon out of California, police said.
Splinter cautioned parents to be careful about sharing personal information on social media.
If there are any questions about the authenticity of credentials, the public may call the Clark County Department of Family Services at 702-399-0081 to verify.
In a statement Wednesday, Clark County said, “The safety of our children and youth in foster care is paramount. We urge all parents to ask questions if they have any doubt as to whether or not they are speaking to a family services employee.”
Anyone with information about Boyd may call Metro at 702-828-7355, or Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555 to remain anonymous.
Safety tips for parents
— Parents should always ask for proper ID before trusting a stranger with their children, including Clark County employees who are issued an ID card upon hiring.
— When out in the field, Department of Family Services employees are instructed to present their ID cards to families with whom they are working. These employees are not allowed to refuse to show their ID cards when asked.
— ID cards contain the employee’s picture, name and title.