Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Fetal Snatchers

Misdirected "Gift"

Sarah Brady
Sarah Brady

In April 2005, Sarah Brady claimed she was lured to an apartment in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, according to a story in the Washington Post, and she found herself in the midst of a room full of surgical tools. A nursery was all set up for a baby in this home, but there was no baby. Sarah had come there because another woman, "Sarah Brody," aka Katie Smith, had told her that they had both registered for gifts at the same store but the store had mistakenly delivered Brady's there. It was an understandable mistake, since their names were so similar.

"Sarah Brody" aka Katie Smith

Sarah, 26, was nine months pregnant, and in the midst of her baby showers, so the story was credible to her. She was, in fact, registered at that store and she couldn't have imagined that someone was actually luring her to her death. However, once she was at Smith's home, she quickly became aware that the phone call had been a hoax and she'd been tricked into coming. But she was trapped.

Smith came at her with a knife to try to kill her and remove her baby, but Sarah fought fiercely. She managed to wrestle the weapon away and stab her assailant, an unemployed nanny, to death. In the process, she suffered a few cuts, but her baby was unharmed. She immediately went to the police to report the incident. Improbable as the situation seemed, the evidence supported Sarah's story, and no charges were filed.

An investigation turned up evidence in Smith's computer that she had selected Sarah via an online baby registry. Since Smith was dead, she wasn't around to answer questions, but it's likely that Sarah physically matched what Smith had in mind. She also lived in the right area. Apparently, Smith, 22, had formed an elaborate plan. For a couple of months, she had worn padded clothing to deceive those who knew her into thinking she was pregnant. Smith even carried a photo of a fetal ultrasound of twins to show people "her baby" as it developed. Unmarried, Smith told friends she'd been pregnant before but had lost the baby. (The autopsy revealed that she'd never delivered a child.) Having picked out Sarah, she bided her time before making the call that ended in this shocking incident. Among other such situations, it was unique for the manner of calculation. It was also unique in that it was the perpetrator who died, not the targeted woman.

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