Police: Woman Posed as Immigration Officer to Take Child


Police in Florida reported that a woman accused of kidnapping an infant by posing as an immigration officer is refusing to speak about the case. She returned the baby to authorities on Tuesday.

Ten hours after a statewide Amber Alert was issued, the infant was returned and appeared to be in good health.

“We may never know what she was thinking or what she was planning to do with the baby,” Plant City, Florida, police spokesman Capt. Darrell Wilson said Wednesday.

“She invoked the right to remain silent, so all questioning stopped,” Wilson added.

Bond was set at $750,000 on Wednesday for 43-year-old suspect Amalia Tabata Pereira, during a hearing in Manatee Country court. Pereira is the wife of a minor-league baseball player in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. She faces charges of interference with child custody, false imprisonment, child abuse and kidnapping, authorities said.

A woman who claimed to be an immigration official spoke to migrant worker, Rosa Sirilo-Fransisco, at the Hillsborough County Health Department and told her that if she did not turn over her two-month-old daughter, Sandra Cruz-Fransisco, she would face deportation, police said. According to Wilson, both the parents of the child are from Mexico and took the child to the clinic for a routine check-up.

Sirilo-Francisco and her husband, Andres Cruz, declined to speak to the press. They are undocumented residents. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have not disclosed if they would be investigating them.

The mother confided in a relative in Georgia after giving up the child, and was told that federal immigration officials would never follow such a procedure. The parents then reported the child as missing.

After ten hours, Pereira turned the child over to Manatee County sheriff’s deputies.

Amalia Tabata Pereira has used the alias Alalia Rivera, Amalia Segui and Almalia Maldonado. Pereira spent 3 years in prison on an arson conviction and was released in 2003. Prior to her marriage to Jose Tabata, she had 4 children, who are now teens and adults.

Pereira’s husband, Jose Tabata, is confused, frustrated and hurt by his wife’s shocking actions. Pirates President Frank Coonelly said that the organization will continue to assist and support Jose during this difficult personal time. Police say Tabata is not a suspect.


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