The baby, Cortez L. Rose, was recovered and in “good” condition, according to U.S. Marshals Supervisory Deputy Pamela Mozdzierz. Medina was placed into custody and charged with aggravated kidnapping.
Cortez was left in Medina's care by the girl's mother, 16-year-old Mekeela King, while King went to a relative's East St. Louis home to buy clothes for the infant, according to Madison Police Chief Steve Shelby.
Shelby said Medina, who was wanted on a grand larceny charge out of New York City and for questioning concerning a string of robberies in the city, was a “transient” who had been staying with King for three days.
Other residents of King's home reported seeing Medina pushing the baby in a stroller Saturday while she was baby-sitting him before both vanished, Shelby said.
A day later, King reported the baby missing, and a search ensued.
The Madison Police Department called in the U.S. Marshals Service, and what Mozdzierz described as a “tremendous amount of leg-work and interviews” led to authorities locating Medina's boyfriend – who police believe was involved with her in the New York robberies – in East St. Louis.
Authorities pressured the boyfriend to phone Medina, which allowed them to track her phone to the Taber Street residence, Shelby said.
There, U.S. Marshals and authorities from the Allen County Sheriff's Department raided the home to find Cortez and an uncooperative Medina, along with 11 others.
One inhabitant was arrested on a felony failure to appear warrant, and another – a juvenile – was taken to the Allen County Juvenile Center as a runaway.
Why Medina took Cortez to Fort Wayne remains unknown.
“That's the $64,000 question,” said Shelby. “We were concerned about how she got up there.”
Mozdzierz could not comment on a possible motive.
Shelby said King was notified immediately after Cortez was found and was said to be en route to Fort Wayne to take him out of Child Protective Services, where he was being held.