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2 Women Arrested in Arizona With Missing Baby Girl

March 08, 2000

HOLLYWOOD — Police in Safford, Ariz., arrested two women on Tuesday for the suspected kidnapping of a 6-month-old girl from her mother's home in Hollywood a day earlier, authorities said.

Chamberlain Cotton, 21, and Cari Ann Gleason, 18, were detained as they deboarded a Greyhound bus bound for Texas, where Cotton is believed to have family, Los Angeles police said. Though the women's motive was still unclear, authorities suspect Cotton may have abducted the child "to prove to her mother that she was responsible by having a child of her own," said Capt. Mike Downing of the LAPD's Hollywood Division.

Both Cotton and Gleason are described as acquaintances of Sandy Vega, who left her baby with Cotton Monday afternoon while she made a trip to a store. When Vega returned, the baby and Cotton were missing. Gleason had accompanied Vega to the store and later disappeared.

The child, Johnny Michelle Vega, was being examined at a Safford-area hospital Tuesday and appeared to be fine, police said. The Arizona Department of Children's Services hoped to have the girl reunited with her mother sometime today.

Los Angeles police received a tip early Tuesday that the suspects were headed to Texas on a Greyhound bus that originated in San Diego. After obtaining schedules and routes, police determined the bus would be stopping in Safford early Tuesday afternoon. Authorities forwarded the suspects' photographs to Safford police, who awaited their arrival.

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