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A newborn is kidnapped from a hospital three days after her birth.

Marlene Santana


Gender: Female
DOB: 10/18/85
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brown
Defining Characteristics: Born with a medical condition that makes her feet appear somewhat “C” shaped when viewed from the bottom


Every October 18 th , Francesca and Tomas Santana commemorate their daughter, Marlene’s birthday.   But every October 18 th is also a time of sorrow for the Santana family because Marlene has been missing since 1985. But in the beginning, all that mattered to Francesca was having a beautiful, healthy baby:

“When my baby was born she was pretty. She was very beautiful. She was the most beautiful baby in the nursery.”

Composite sketch of the abductor

Three days later, on the 21 st of October, Francesca was preparing to take her baby home when she met a woman outside the Brooklyn hospital’s nursery:

“When I was looking at my baby in the nursery,   I saw a woman in the window that told me that my baby was the most quiet one, the prettiest one, and I was glad that she told me that, because I thought she liked my baby.”

A few hours later, at 9:00 PM, Francesca checked out of the hospital. According to Francesca, her two sisters-in-law came to take her home:

“When we were going downstairs, a woman came to me, the same woman that I saw in the nursery. She told me she was waiting for me all day.”

The woman took the baby and drove off

According to Francesca, the woman then pulled out a gun and pointed it at the baby:

“She told us to walk or she was going to blow up the head.   And, we walked.”  

They walked over six blocks at gunpoint. Finally, they stopped near a deserted junkyard. At first, Francesca thought that they were being robbed. The woman demanded that Francesca give her the baby, then got in a car driven by an accomplice and drove off. Francesca was in a state of shock:

“When she took the baby… I didn’t know what to do.   I was crying, I tried to stop the car and… nobody helped us.”

Her family still celebrates Marlene’s birthday

Francesca went to the police and detectives were assigned to the case. She was able to describe the car that had driven away with Marlene. It was a white 1976 Chevy Malibu, with red lettering on its door. At the hospital, police tried to gather descriptions of the mysterious woman. Some believed that she was not a professional criminal, but rather, an emotionally unstable woman unable to have a child of her own. Based on eyewitness descriptions, a composite of the abductor was created. She was white with Hispanic features and no accent. Her hair was dyed reddish blonde, and at the time she appeared to be in her late 20s.

Today, the Santana family is still searching for their missing daughter. She has brown hair and brown eyes and was born with a medical condition that makes her feet appear somewhat “C” shaped when viewed from the bottom. She may celebrate her birthday around Halloween and may have been put up for an illegal adoption in late 1985 or 1986.

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

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  1. C

    I used to work at a retail store in zip code 92509. There is a mentally ill lady we all know as Vera who constantly harasses the local businesses. She’s always making random phone calls screaming conspiracy or asking questions that have nothing to do with the business. We’ve dubbed her Crazy Lady. We think she is schizophrenic. She bores a striking resemblance to the composite sketch. Including the fact that she always dyes her hair red.


  2. Meghan

    Why doesn’t the family try 23 and me or ancestry DNA? They might be able to find her somewhere.


  3. Anonymous

    Yeah, is there any news on whether Javier’s unnamed girlfriend or Jessica is Marlene or not? John L is right, it would be nice for this case to be solved after nearly 30 years.
    I hope Marlene isn’t dead. Because she needs to be found before she can celebrate her 30th birthday with her real family for the first time.


  4. Anonymous

    Is there any DNA on file, you may find her in Ceres, Ca.


  5. Javier

    UNSOLVED did you follow through on any of the above leads!??


    • unsolved

      We pass all leads we receive on to the law enforcement agency handling the case


      • Latosha Vowell

        I was adopted in 1986 the day I was born I never saw any adoption paperwork! My mom and dad were murdered both unsolved and I don’t think any of it will come up from there graves! My name is Latosha Vowell on facebook.com my adopted mom went threw a lawsuit with me and it said she was my friend over me not my parent! I’m so confused about my past and I wish I could get some one who is smarter than I to figure out why I can’t find any adoption info!!!! From 07/26/1986 supposedly from Wichita falls Texas the last name was Litsair on my birth card laying in my baby bed if that’s even my baby pictures!


  6. Logan

    This INFURIATES me. I know why the abductor aimed the gun at the baby. It was the ONLY way that the mother would have cooperated because I can tell you, as a father, if you aim a gun at me and say you’re taking my son you will have to KILL me or I’m going to tear your arms off. You will NOT be taking my son unless I am dead. The kidnapper definitely knew what she was doing as far as how to get a mother to follow orders.


  7. Christine

    Did the woman that kidnapped your daughter have an accent?


  8. Donna

    What hospital would discharge a patient at 9 o’clock at night? ..


  9. Kali

    R. Berenise i hope one day your family is reunited! This story made me so sad, i cannot imagine what you all must go through.
    Never lose hope. Have shared this in the uk too. X


  10. Janie Doe.

    I believe that Miracles Truly do happen, Just Remember, Elizabeth Smart, Shawn Hornbeck, Jaycee Dugard, Carlina White, Hannah Anderson, The Three Girls from Cleveland Ohio, a Miracle happened to those Respected Families, I just Know that it’s going to happen to This Girls (or should i say a 34-year-old woman by now) Family, and This Girl would be found Alive, also Like Jaycee, Amanda Berry (she (Amanda Berry) was one of the three girls that was kidnapped in Cleveland Ohio), and Carlina, This Girl Might have a child of her own, also it is now 2016, It’s been 31 years, God only knows what this girl has been through the past 31 years, She might’ve been told that her mother didn’t want her, or had abandoned her, or God Forbid they might be dead, Or might’ve been threatened, like If you ever try to escape or go for help, they’ll know where she lives, knows who her family is, and God forbid they might have or hire someone to kill her family, or kill her.


  11. R. Berenise

    I believe DNA was submitted in New York in 1993when a little girl that looked a lot like their older daughter was pushed to the street but it was not her. Marlene is still Missing I know the family. More then know them they are Family that was my aunt the baby was stolen from. They are still looking Marlene would turn 31 this year


    • Sonya Sanchez

      Just saw the story on Unsolved Mysteries. I pray she is found soon and reunited with her family. This is so sad. Prayers to the family!


  12. David

    Why don’t they just take a DNA test and see where their daughter lives? She might have a different name.


  13. britt

    I heard about the Dominique Purnell case truly a miracle


  14. Hanna

    there is another case of a missing baby named Dominique Purnell from 1990 shes now 25 years old and recently found alive and well. im telling you this because there is hope. this woman was raised with another family for 25 years and just found out her true identity. she was living in another state undetected for 25 years.


  15. Gigi

    what happened with marlene they found her or not?


  16. jed

    as i dont have a clear picture of her, and with the little psychic powers that i have, i can sense that baby marlene was the victim of a cult kidnapping…cult is now defunct…


    • Julia H.

      Funny every psychic who I have spoken to on this case says similar, I do not understand why they say that, But I do not believe it.


  17. jed

    i am abit of a psychic….but i need a clear look at baby marlene’s face….


  18. Janie Doe

    I wonder if that Family has heard about the three girls that were found in Ohio?, and I wonder if it gives them the hope that their own daughter would be found alive, even though it’s been 30 years, God only knows what this Baby Girl (or should I say young woman by now) might’ve went through, she might not know who she really is, or might’ve been told that her parents don’t want her, or they left her alone, or God Forbid they might be dead, I believe that Miracles Truly do happen, just take a look at Elizabeth Smart, Shawn Hornbeck, Jaycee Dugard, Amanda Berry, Gina Dejesus, Michelle Knight, If they had been found alive Respectively of course, This Young Woman who would today be 33-years-old would be found alive, and Like Jaycee, Amanda, This Young Woman might also have a child of her own.


  19. John L.

    Is there any news on rather Javier’s gf or Jessica is Marlene? Such a sad story, it’d be nice for this case to be solved.


  20. Greg

    Hi Jessica. Why don’t you take a DNA test just to be sure if you are Marlene Santana or not?


  21. jessica

    My birthday is in Oct of 84 my pics look just like her as a little girl but not a young woman I don’t know if my feet look that way from the bottom or not or if I was adopted I just found I strange that the one photo my mom had of me when I was young looks so similar


    • RISSSS

      Unless you’re wrong about your birthday by a year, you aren’t the missing baby. Stop trying to create drama with your silliness


  22. Javier vizcarra

    My girlfriend don’t look nothing like her family, her birthday is Oct. 24, 1985, Her mother has short hair like the lady in the pic who took the baby. Her mother lived in New York in the city New Rochelle with her sister at that time. My girlfriend foot has a c shape foot when you look at the bottom. So is there any DNA on file??


  23. Undnybl1

    It states her DOB to be November 18th in statistics here, but reading the details in the story,it says they celebrate her bday October 18th. I take it that November is wrong? I know someone born November 1985 that was adopted. But she is naturally blonde and green eyed.


    • unsolved

      Thank you for bringing that to our attention – the error has been corrected. Her birthday was in October.


    • R.Berenise

      The blonde hair and green eyes might be possible Marlene brother is blonde with green eyes so is her grandmother and a few more relatives. Has she submitted DNA to see if it’s her. I know the family


      • Julia H.

        I have to call you out on this one. There is a family facebook page of this family. Brother does not have blonde hair or green eyes. Please explain……


  24. Rodrigo Campeador

    I really can’t believe that this has happened to this woman almost thirty years ago. I was born in 1985. That means that the baby who got kidnapped is now a woman, and is almost my age. Why did the kidnapper take the baby?? Was it because she was unable to have kids of her own??


    • Dave

      How could anyone know the reason? Everything is speculation. Did you read the post? See the episode?

      Seriously how could anyone know the reason? If the reason was known, the cops would have leads.