Mom who took ailing baby from Phoenix hospital pleads not guilty to child abuse

Jul 27, 2023, 10:58 AM | Updated: 12:03 pm

Mugshot of Rosa Santana and surveillance image of her carrying her baby. Santana faces child abuse ...

Rosa Santana faces child abuse charges after allegedly taking her ailing newborn baby from a Phoenix, Arizona, hospital against medical advice on July 12, 2023. (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Phoenix Police Department Photos)

(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Phoenix Police Department Photos)

PHOENIX – The woman who took her ailing newborn baby from a Phoenix hospital in a duffel bag earlier this month, triggering an Amber Alert, pleaded not guilty to child abuse Wednesday.

Rosa Maria Santana, 24, was arrested two weeks ago after being found unconscious with the boy and drugs by her side, authorities said.

A Maricopa County grand jury indicted her on one count of child abuse, a class 4 felony, on July 19.

The newborn was receiving treatment for opioid withdrawal at Valleywise Health Medical Center after fentanyl was found in his umbilical cord, indicating long-term drug use by the mother, according to court records.

How did Rosa Santana take baby from Phoenix hospital?

The boy, who was born July 6, was using a feeding tube when Santana allegedly put him in a duffel bag and left the hospital at 24th and Roosevelt streets around noon on July 12, authorities said.

Investigators tracked Santana to an apartment near 71st Avenue and Indian School Road. She was found unconscious with the child and drugs by her side, according to the probable cause statement for her arrest.

The boy was returned to the hospital to continue his treatments, and Santana was taken into custody.

The Amber Alert was issued around 7 p.m. the night of the incident and canceled about three hours later.

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Mom who took ailing baby from Phoenix hospital pleads not guilty to child abuse