They had been separated for months. So when Grisel Ramírez told her husband she was expecting, and was having a girl, he didn’t think much of it.
But when the child was supposed to be born, he asked to meet the child. When she put it off, he kept insisting. And that’s when things took a turn for the worse.
“He thought she was really pregnant," Garden Grove police Lt. Jeff Nightengale told the Los Angeles Times. "Obviously, he didn't have any idea that she was going to kidnap a child."
What Ramírez’s husband later learned, police said, is that she had faked her pregnancy, and a little after she was due, snatched a baby from a hospital to pretend it was hers.
Ramírez, 48, is accused of posing as a visitor to enter Garden Grove Medical Center, where she attempted to abduct a baby Monday, Nightengale said Tuesday.
She remained held without bail and was due for arraignment Wednesday. Authorities have not yet filed any charges.
The husband had no idea she wasn't pregnant, Nightengale said.
"She perpetuated this myth for several months, and they don't live together and don't see each other, so the husband totally believed it," said Nightengale.
Her husband told police he had been asking about the birth certificate he needed to sign.
"He was upset and devastated that it wasn't true," Nightengale said.
Ramírez, a waitress, may have approached other pregnant women and asked about their due dates and their baby's gender at another Southern California hospital last month, Nightengale said.
One woman grew suspicious of the questions and told staff at Western Medical Center-Anaheim.
There was no surveillance video available at the hospital, so police used a photo lineup for the people who witnessed the woman's strange activity on July 26. They identified Ramírez as the inquisitive lurker, they said.
Garden Grove Medical Center Director Sofia Abrina said Tuesday that Ramírez presented herself as a visitor who wanted to visit a patient when she entered the hospital Monday.
Abrina said when a sensor attached to a bracelet around the baby's ankle set off alarms, the staff began searching and counting patients until Ramírez was apprehended.
Ramírez is accused of entering the room of the baby's mother and posing as a nurse who told the woman to shower before a doctor came to examine her. Police said that once the baby's mother was out of the room, Ramírez put the newborn in a purple tie-dyed tote bag and tried to carry her out of the ward.
Many hospital wards have security systems where patients, such as newborns or those with Alzheimer's disease, are tagged with an electronic sensor — usually in a bracelet or anklet — that sets off an alarm when the patient leaves a certain perimeter.
The baby wasn't harmed during the short time she was in the tote and was returned to her mother.
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.