Unknown persons drugged a 19-year-old pregnant Colombian woman and cut her open to snatch the unborn child, authorities in the northern province of Magdalena said.

The singular case occurred near Santa Marta, the provincial capital, police Col. César Granados told reporters.

Andrea Carolina Pallares Cabrera, seven months pregnant, was in Santa Marta doing some personal errands when she was approached by an unknown woman who offered to help her enroll her baby in a public health program.

Granados said that Pallares was taken to a wooded area outside Santa Marta, but doesn't yet remember how they got to the place.

There they used some instrument to cut her open, removed the baby from her womb and left her stranded.

The young woman managed to reach a highway where she was picked up by a local and taken to a hospital.

Due to the seriousness of her condition, she was moved to a better-equipped clinic in Santa Marta, where she is in intensive care.

According to a medical report, the woman was admitted with a transverse incision in the abdomen and the uterus open, with blood and sand in the abdominal cavity. She was operated to remove the risk of infection.

Pallares' prognosis is guarded, the clinic said.

Police said that a woman has been arrested in the case, who had been found with a premature baby and who said she had given birth with the aid of a midwife.

A medical exam showed that the woman in custody had not given birth recently, after which the woman admitted that several months ago she had been pregnant, but lost the baby because of the abusive treatment inflicted by her man, who promised to bring her a substitute baby.

The woman lives near where Pallares was attacked, according to Granados.

"Everything indicates that the baby was stolen from the mother's womb. A DNA test is pending to fully establish the relationship," the colonel said.

The newborn remains in intensive care at a clinic in Santa Marta.

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