Initial Appearance for Fetus-Snatch Suspect

A woman accused of killing an expectant mother and cutting the baby from her womb made her initial appearance Tuesday before a federal judge in Missouri.

Federal prosecutors have charged Lisa Montgomery (search), 36, of Melvern, Kan., with kidnapping resulting in death. She is accused of strangling eight-months-pregnant Bobbie Jo Stinnett (search) and cutting the baby from her womb during a Dec. 16 attack at Stinnett's home in Skidmore.

Tuesday's hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge John T. Maughmer lasted less than 10 minutes. Montgomery answered a series of questions about whether she qualifies financially for a public defender, and Maughmer said it appeared she would.

It wasn't clear if the two public defenders who appeared with Montgomery during the hearing would continue to handle her case.

Montgomery is scheduled to return to court Thursday for a detention hearing, and prosecutors have already asked she be denied bond.

Stinnett, 23, was found by her mother in a pool of blood on Dec. 16. Officials said Montgomery, on that same day, called her husband from Topeka, Kan., and told him she had just delivered a baby.

Authorities said the baby was found Dec. 17 with Montgomery and her husband in Melvern. The infant, named Victoria Jo Stinnett (search), spent that weekend in a Topeka hospital before going home with her widowed father, Zeb Stinnett.