UNION, Mo. – Investigators hope a police drawing of a woman believed to have slashed a mother's throat and abducted her newborn baby last week will bring in more leads in the unusual case.
Abigale Lynn Woods was just a week old when she was abducted from her home near the Franklin County town of Lonedell on Friday. Her mother, 21-year-old Stephenie Ochsenbine, was released from a St. Louis-area hospital Sunday, then helped authorities develop the composite drawing of the suspect, which was released Monday.
On the fifth day of the investigation, Franklin County Sheriff Gary Toelke was hoping the drawing, as well as a picture of a black scarf that was recovered near the home on Saturday, would generate new clues.
The drawing shows a woman with dark hair wearing a baseball cap, and Ochsenbine told authorities the woman also was wearing a scarf. Toelke said she is believed to be between 5-foot-4 and 5-foot-8 and is heavy, perhaps about 200 pounds.
Toelke said Ochsenbine "wasn't completely happy" with the sketch, "but it's the best we could come up with."
He called the scarf a "pretty significant piece of evidence" that he would like the public to see.
Toelke said more than 300 leads have come in so far, some from as far away as Texas, Oklahoma and Virginia.
"The phones have been ringing off the walls," Toelke said Monday at a news conference.
Ochsenbine told police she did not know the woman who came to her door Friday and entered the house after asking to use the telephone. The alleged intruder attacked Ochsenbine with a knife, slashing her throat, then took the baby. After lying unconscious, Ochsenbine gathered up her 1-year-old son, Connor, who was unharmed, and went to a neighbor's home to seek help.
Ochsenbine and others close to her are not considered suspects, but Toelke said no one has been ruled out. Ochsenbine's boyfriend and the baby's father, James Woods, was at work at the time of the abduction.
Stephenie Ochsenbine did not appear at the news conference. Her grandfather, James Ochsenbine, declined comment on behalf of the family, and declined to set up an interview with his granddaughter, saying the family wanted her to rest.
Authorities were hopeful Monday the baby was still alive and well.
"From history, if somebody wants a child, I would assume that child's being taken care of," FBI agent Roland Corvington said.
Corvington said investigators still were awaiting lab results on fingerprints from a knife found near the home, and would he not say if the scarf contained any hair, blood or DNA evidence.
About 100 members of the Missouri National Guard assisted in the investigation have ended their grid search of the area near the home where the baby was abducted. Toelke said authorities will rely on tips and interviews, though additional searches are planned.
Fliers showing the baby were posted in gas stations and restaurants throughout Franklin County. The 6-pound girl, born Sept. 8, has dark brown hair, dark eyes and a strawberry birthmark on her forehead.
The abductor has been profiled as someone who possibly had a child die recently or as someone who could not have children, told people she was pregnant and needed to steal a child so her lie would not be found out.
"Historically, these types of people have cased hospitals," Corvington said.
From 1983 to 2002, there were 217 reported cases of nonfamily infant abductions nationwide, and all but a few babies were recovered safely within 25 miles of where they had been taken, according to a 2003 study by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. About three-quarters of the kidnapped infants were recovered in less than five days.