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France sounds kidnap alert after three-year-old baby taken from Marseille hospital

Tony Cross

A three-year-old baby was taken from a maternity ward in Marseille overnight, officials in the southern French city said Tuesday. A national kidnap alert has been announced and police are searching for a 25-30-year-old woman who was seen in the hospital shortly before the child’s absence was noticed.

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The baby boy, called Zacharia, appears to have been kidnapped between 10pm and midnight from his mother’s room in the Saint-Joseph-de-Marseille hospital.

Police warn that the 24 hours that follow a kidnapping can be crucial for a child’s survival and have put France’s Kidnap Alert programme into operation.

The programme, which was established in 2006 for missing children, places nationwide announcements on radio, television, billboards, internet sites and sale-points for national lottery tickets.

A woman of between 25 and 30 years old, of “mediterranean or north African type”, with mid-length chestnut hair and a mole or spot on her right cheek was spotted acting suspiciously in the hospital before the baby went missing and is suspected of kidnapping him.
 

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