Philadelphia News & Search
When Cherie Amoore arrived home last March with a baby, she told her boyfriend it was their own newborn son.
When she took the 7-week-old to visit her parents, they took photos with him and believed the infant was their grandchild.
But the baby was not hers. And as she was introducing him to her family, a frantic search was underway for an infant kidnapped from the King of Prussia Mall.
Amoore had never been pregnant, but had led her family and friends to believe she had a baby, prosecutors said Friday as a judge convicted her of kidnapping and concealing the whereabouts of a child.
Amoore, 33, of Wayne, told police that she had told family and friends she was pregnant after she had taken a home pregnancy test that gave a false positive. Once she realized she was not pregnant, Assistant District Attorney Brianna Ringwood said, Amoore allowed her family to continue believing she was.
Her lie escalated when she went to the mall.
The rare case of kidnapping by a stranger caused alarm around the region. Cars were stopped as they left the mall parking lot, cellphones rang, and TV programming was halted for Amber Alert messages. The baby’s photo was plastered across billboards and news sites as police led a five-hour search for the missing infant.
Judge William R. Carpenter found Amoore guilty after a brief bench trial, at which neither side presented arguments. She will be sentenced later, and could face a maximum of 13 ½ to 27 years in prison. Ringwood said she plans to seek a stiff state prison sentence.
Last March, Amoore went to King of Prussia Mall and approached a number of parents with infants. After speaking to one mother at the mall with a 7-week-old baby and other children, she followed her to the food court.
When the baby began to cry, she picked him up, Ringwood said. And as the mother turned away to attend to another child, Amoore bolted. Mall security footage played at a court hearing last year showed her fleeing the mall while clutching the infant.
“This is every parent’s worst nightmare, to look up and find that their child is gone,” Ringwood said Friday after the court hearing.
Amoore had led her family to believe that after she had her baby, the infant had been placed with child services in Philadelphia. When she arrived at home with the kidnapped baby, Ringwood said, Amoore told her boyfriend that she was going to change his clothes because she did not like the outfit supplied by the caseworker.
She then drove to her parents’ home and introduced the baby “as her own child,” Ringwood said. Amoore’s mother, Renee Amoore, is deputy chairman of the State Republican Committee. She did not attend Friday’s court hearing.
Marc Steinberg, Amoore’s lawyer, had previously filed a motion seeking to present an insanity defense at trial. He withdrew that motion Friday and said he would present witnesses at her sentencing.
Amoore and Steinberg declined to comment as they left the courthouse in Norristown.
On the evening that the baby was taken, prosecutors said, Amoore’s boyfriend saw the Amber Alert for the missing baby and asked if that was the baby they had.
“No, how dare you think that’s me,” she responded, Ringwood said as she read a list of facts to the judge Friday.
But when police arrived at the door of her apartment that night, Amoore told them, “I’ve got him. He’s right here.”
Philadelphia News & Search