A newborn is stolen from a swap meet.

Jacqueline Castaneda

Missing:

Gender: Female
DOB: 1/14/01
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Black
Defining Characteristics: Heart-shaped birthmark on her upper right arm

CASE DETAILS

The family went to a crowded swap meet

In May of 2001, Olivia Castaneda arrived at a swap meet outside Phoenix, Arizona, with her two children and her mother:

“My husband dropped me off there with my two babies, my two year-old Niely, and Jacqueline, my four month-old baby. I took Jacqueline out of the car with her car seat, and Niely, I took her walking.”

She left Jacqueline outside for a moment

Before meeting her mother inside, Olivia needed to use the rest room. She finally found a portable bathroom. Finding it too cramped and dirty, she made a decision that would lead to tragedy:

“Jacqueline couldn’t fit inside, so I just took my two year-old, Niely, inside the rest room ’cause she could have walked away if I left her outside. I was in the rest room, like, for a minute, when I came out, Jacqueline wasn’t there anymore.”

She looked everywhere for the missing baby

Hoping that her mother had taken the baby, Olivia rushed into the swap meet:

“I felt more upset and more nervous when I saw my mom was by herself. She didn’t have the baby. And that’s when I felt I was going to die. I mean, I just–I didn’t know what to do.”

Police inspected every car

After 20 minutes of searching booth to booth, the police were called. According to Sgt. Mark Lucas of the Avondale Police Department, they immediately sealed off the swap meet:

“There was an officer stationed at all the exits and along the fence line. And as cars were leaving, we would check the vehicles as they left. As people were leaving the side exits through the gates, we would go ahead and check them, make sure they weren’t carrying an infant or had a car-carrier.”


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season twelve with Robert Stack and in season eight with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

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23 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    I agree that was stupid,she could have held the door open with her hip and put the carseat between her feet helped the two yr old. That’s what I did when my son was a baby.

    Reply

  2. Hailey-Eris

    I do have to agree that she shouldn’t have left Jacqueline outside alone. However, now is not the time to scold her mother for her poor judgment. Imagine the harsh, sobering regret she must harbor every day. Adding insult to injury won’t erase the fact that this horrible crime already occurred. Bottom line? Jacqueline is still out there and needs to be found! Hopefully like cops speculate, she was taken by someone who wanted a child to raise and is being well cared for and loved

    Reply

  3. Anonymous

    I’m not surprised by the amount of venomous comments re: the stupidity of the mom who left her newborn unattended. But, I have to say, I’m sure she has paid for that mistake dearly for all of these years that the baby has been missing. We all do things that we later regret, and altho’ this is a colossal mistake, and not one most of us would have decided to make, this poor woman did make that decision. She has to have regretted those few moments every day of her life. You have to feel empathy for her pain. I pray that this baby was stolen by someone who took wonderful care of her and loves her dearly to this day. It’s the least any of us can do.

    Reply

  4. Lizcali.

    I had 3 kids all small and I never left my kids unattended in any place when I went to use the bathroom I put them all in the stall with me ! I had always held there hands and had them in a stroller! There is never any excuse to never have a eye on your kids I never lost one thank god ! and the carrier she had the baby in how was she going to walk around the swap meet carrying that there so heavy ! It’s easier to carry the baby like I did or take the kid out go in the porta potty with both when I first saw her with that carrier I knew it didn’t make sense you can’t carry that for very long it’s more weight then just carrying the kid

    Reply

  5. chanita jackson

    are u kidding me ? that was a big mistake ! u don’t never ever leave a baby out side by it,s self ! That woman had decided that her two year old daughter was more important then her new born daughter! I,m sorry but that,s the way that I feel about it ! I think it was wrong the way she did!

    Reply

  6. smiffy

    why couldn’t her mum look after the baby whilst she was in the toilet?

    Reply

  7. Vicky Field Whitlow

    I wish you guys would put the computer picture of what this baby might look like today. I watched this episode yesterday here in Iowa and they showed the computer photo but it was to quick. I really want to see it ,because I lived next to a family a few years ago and the computer photo kinda looked like one of the little girls that lived there but I could not be sure since it was over before I could pull up the family photos I took for them . My email is sweetpeavonhein69@Gmail.com. Thank you. And no one should judge young mothers who are doing their best with out anyone’s help unless you have been in that mothers shoes.

    Reply

  8. Teri

    I do feel very sorry for the mom, but she could not have done a more irresponsible thing if she tried. You never take your eyes off of your child.

    Reply

  9. Overwatch

    We are all so quick to judge. The fact of the matter is this: We ALL do what might be termed stupid things. We ALL make bad decisions at one time or another. Most of us are spared any serious consequences for our lapses in judgement. The fact that this woman was not so fortunate does not give us the right to judge her. I believe her daughter is out there somewhere. May she find her way home.

    Reply

  10. Karina

    Have they found the baby yet?

    Reply

  11. LUI FREEH

    SHE TOOK THE TWO YEAR OLD INSIDE SO SHE WOULDNlT SEE WHO CAME TO GET WHAT THEY “PAID FOR”! SWAP MEET THAT’S CROWDED “NICE EXCUSE”! ( BUT THAT’S ALL IT IS ) REPRESSED MEMORIES OF HER TWO YEAR OLD SEEING THE MAN OR WOMAN WHO HER MOTHER SOLD HER SMALLER SIBLING TO.

    Reply

    • Fascinated

      That is a disgusting comment and should be removed. Actuallly, all your comments are disgusting and illiterate.

      We all make quick decisions – most of them end up OK but this poor mother suffered for a her bad decision. Wondering where HER mother was during all this. Unfortunately, someone who steals a baby would leave very quickly and would be long gone by the time they sealed the exits.

      I’m sure the baby is still alive but the not knowing would be agonizing. Hope the mother ignores horrible comments from people like Lui Free who’s a POS.

      Reply

  12. Jane doe

    Dumb mom to leave her baby. Hold your pee on and give your baby to ur mom then go pee. She gave her baby away.

    Reply

  13. Maribel

    God sees everything. He knows who took the baby. God bless the family. Hopefully the mother will meet her daughter one day.

    Reply

  14. tamara

    Of course we can all say it was dumb of her, but omg that poor mother! She will regret that till she dies – I feel really really sorry for her!! You just dont think that this stuff will happen to u. Hope they find her

    Reply

  15. elle

    so.. wait… are those pictures authentic, and just so happened to catch everything but the baby snatcher?

    Reply

  16. Jayda

    Hopefully they find her someday, and she’s okay and alive.

    Reply

  17. Sky

    Very dumb to leave her baby out for anyone to take..

    Reply