MANILA, Philippines (AP) — An American woman charged with human trafficking for allegedly attempting to smuggle a 6-day-old baby out of the Philippines inside a sling bag was arrested on an additional count of kidnapping, authorities said.
Jennifer Talbot from Utah, who was out on bail while facing the human trafficking charge, was presented to reporters in Manila on Wednesday by officials from the National Bureau of Investigation, a government anti-crime investigative agency. Talbot wore an orange shirt and had a mask on, with her left arm in a sling.
She pulled down her mask and said, “I object to this press conference without my attorney and the embassy present.”
Talbot had planned to board a Delta Air Lines flight to the United States with the baby on Sept. 4, according to prosecutors. After discovering the baby, airline staff called immigration personnel, who arrested Talbot at the airport. The baby was turned over to government welfare personnel.
The prosecutors said that Talbot presented an affidavit at the airport, allegedly from the baby’s mother giving consent for the newborn to travel to the U.S., but it had not been signed by the mother.
Officials said no government travel approval had been issued for the baby, prompting them to file human trafficking charges last year against Talbot. Talbot also violated at least two other laws, kidnapping and illegal detention, the prosecutors said.
Talbot was served with an arrest warrant for kidnapping on Monday while she was attending a court hearing related to the trafficking charge. There is no bail available for kidnapping.
An initial hearing on the kidnapping charge is scheduled on March 12.