Shelton charged with kidnapping, burglary

April 05, 2004|EMILY BURTON

STANFORD - The investigation of the kidnapping of newborn Grayci Barrows and the subsequent capture of suspect Tanya Shelton were the first events in a chain that now turns to police work and hospital security evaluations.

This week as the parents celebrate their infant's return, the hospital will examine how the incident happened and how to prevent future incidents.

While Grayci recovers, the case in Stanford against Shelton is growing. She has been charged with kidnapping, which carries a sentence of 20 years to life, and third-degree burglary.

"We've got a solid case. We're still building it, but I'm very confident in the case we have against her," said Edwards. Stanford Police Chief Keith Middleton said he expected to see additional charges outside the county.


The motive behind the kidnapping is still unknown, said Middleton. He said he plans to investigate if Shelton had faked a pregnancy, as reported by The Associated Press, but he had "no further information" about a motive.

Shelton allegedly told neighbors in Lexington she was pregnant, according to AP. When asked by The Advocate-Messenger Friday as she was brought to the Lincoln Detention Center if she is pregnant, Shelton did not respond. Lincoln investigators said a search warrant issued Friday for blood and urine samples from Shelton proved she was not.

What's her real name?

Her real name has also been a matter of question, with her list of aliases include Tanya Pike and Tanya Shultz, said lead detective Rick Edwards of the Stanford Police Department. According to Edwards, Tanya D. Shelton is the correct name.

Additional information obtained in the case has been done without Shelton's help, said police.

"She was not cooperative. Information obtained from her was not forthcoming," said Middleton regarding the initial interrogation.

During Friday morning's search, police say Shelton was in contact with officials on the phone, due in part to her mother's assistance. Middleton said police later convinced her to give up her location.

Middleton said such family assistance was a major contributor to the eventual capture of the suspect in Franklin.

"Any time a family member has this type of accusation against them, the family has the tendency to step up and do the right thing," said Middleton.

Shelton "lawyered up"

When Shelton was questioned at the Stanford Police Department Friday evening, she "lawyered up", said Edwards, and did not comment on the case further.

"She didn't want to talk to us," said Edwards.

Shelton is currently housed at the Lincoln County Jail in solitary confinement and is being watched as a precautionary measure, said jail officials. She is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Lincoln County.

Harry Nickens, vice president of community relations and development marketing at Ephraim McDowell Health Care Foundation, owner of Fort Logan Hospital, said no security protocol was breached before the kidnapping, and hospital employees followed procedure after they realized the baby was gone.

Nickens said an incident evaluation would be made to examine how the incident happened, if it could have been prevented, and how it was handled.

"Once it was discovered by staff that the newborn was missing, the police were notified," said Nickens. Following a sweep of the building, the police expanded the search onto the grounds and then outward.

When asked how such a employee was hired, Nickens said she was hired without a suspicion of her possible actions.

"There was no reason to suspect anything," said Nickens. "She went through a criminal background check at the time we hired her."

Grayci expected to be released from hospital this week

At Louisville's Kosair Children's Hospital, Grayci is expected to be released later this week after her full recovery from Friday's kidnapping and abandonment.

She was found behind a consignment shop in Bowling Green, partially wrapped in a blanket in an alley. A woman walking her dog discovered the baby and rushed her to the hospital after cleaning her.

Nickens said the child was more responsive Saturday then when she first arrived at the children's hospital.

"She's very alert. Her eyes are open, she's much more active today than when she first arrived," said Nickens.

Parents Corey Barrows and Samantha Luttrell said Saturday they were overjoyed to see their little girl's big, blue eyes again.

"We are delighted to have Grayci back, she is just a doll baby. Years from now we will have a story to tell her. And we are just grateful to the Lord above," they said in a joint statement.

It was a matter of an individual being at the right place at the right time," said Stanford Police Chief Keith Middleton. Baby Grayci's return came from a "presence beyond us... It was meant to be."

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