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News > St. Louis City / County > Story

FBI, Highway Patrol join search for missing infant

By Kim Bell



Abigale Lynn Woods


Police searched for a newborn girl Friday after the infant's mother reported that a woman who had asked to use her telephone attacked her with a knife and fled with the infant.

The kidnapping and assault were reported at 12:40 p.m. from a home on Missouri Highway 47 near Lonedell, in southeastern Franklin County.

The sheriff's office issued an Amber Alert for Abigale Lynn Woods, 7 days old, who has black hair and blue eyes and wore a pink dress with a flowered collar.

The mother, identified by officials as Stephenie Ochsenbine, 21, was taken by helicopter to a St. Louis-area hospital, where she had surgery for multiple knife wounds. She was expected to survive, authorities said.

Maj. Mike Copeland, chief deputy of the sheriff's office, said Ochsenbine told deputies a stranger knocked on her door and asked to use the phone. The visitor then held Ochsenbine at gunpoint with a handgun and they struggled. Ochsenbine was stabbed in the neck and arm with a filet knife and then forced into the bathroom, police said. The intruder locked the bathroom door and then fled with the infant and Ochsenbine's cordless telephone, they said.

Ochsenbine fell unconscious, although it was not known for how long. When she woke up, she managed to get out of the bathroom, although police would not say how.

Ochsenbine then picked up her 1-year-old son, Connor, and ran across the street to a neighbor's home to call for help. Nobody was home, however, so she walked another 300 yards down a gravel path to the home of Pat Bearden, 69, and rang the doorbell.

Said Bearden: "She was standing there with blood all over her and said, 'Somebody stole my baby.'" Bearden let her in, called 911 and then handed the phone to Ochsenbine.

"I'm just praying they find the abductor and get the baby back," Bearden said. "We're afraid to let our little granddaughter ride her bike now."

Father was at work

Deputies said Ochsenbine lives with the infant's father, James Woods. Police said Woods was at work and not near the house when the intruder came.

Two relatives of Ochsenbine's came to the scene Friday evening in a pickup to talk to sheriff's deputies. "We just want Abby back," one said.

Copeland said police believed the mother's account. "You bet your boots," he said.

He also said the relatives were not considered suspects. "They wanted this child. They were very excited about the child," he said. "We don't have anything to indicate at this point that the family is involved."

The home is in a heavily wooded area just south of Missouri Highway 30. A metal sign with the words, "Welcome Home Abby," is in the front yard, as are toys and a soccer ball. There were chickens in the back yard.

The website for St. John's Mercy Hospital in Washington, where Abigale was born Sept. 8, shows her picture and first name, and first names of her parents, but does not give an address or last names.

The sheriff's office called in help from the Missouri State Highway Patrol and FBI, who together used dogs and search teams in the area around the house.

"We're doing a full-court press," Copeland said. "We're going to knock out all the stops."

Description of attacker

The kidnapper was described as white, 30 to 40 years old, 5 feet 8, weighing about 200 pounds, with dark or black hair pulled under a baseball-style cap with a worn bill. She wore sunglasses, a black scarf around neck, a gray or brown T-shirt and blue jean shorts.

Copeland said investigators did not know whether the attacker fled in a vehicle.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or the Franklin County Sheriff's Department at 636-583-2567.

Can you help?

Anyone who may have information about the location of Abigale Woods can call 911 or the Franklin County Sheriff's Department at 636-583-2567.

The kidnapper was described as a white woman, 30 to 40 years old, 5 feet 8, about 200 pounds, with dark or black hair pulled under a baseball cap with a worn bill, and wearing sunglasses, a black scarf, a gray or brown T-shirt and blue jean shorts.

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Guest SouthernCelt

Any news on this up there in Missouri? I've been keeping an ear open to radio news to see if I hear any updates and although I heard the original story for a couple of broadcasts even that has been dropped in favor of "breaking" news (like who won a football game).

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the only updated news so far is that they found the knife that was used to cut the mothers throat. The mother is fine. The search still continues for Abby Woods
Hey Joe...here is the most recent info as per CNN...it contains a composite sketch of the perp....


on a lighter note:


4th Horseman...

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