A woman suspected of plotting to steal a newborn baby after drugging the mother had been planning the kidnapping for at least three months, records say.
On Tuesday, Pierce County prosecutors charged Juliette Parker, 38, with second-degree assault and attempted second-degree kidnapping.
Not guilty pleas were entered on Parker’s behalf at her arraignment in Superior Court.
Parker posted $50,000 bail over the weekend and was released. New bail of $150,000 was set Tuesday after prosecutors described her as a flight risk.
She also was ordered to have no contact with the victim.
Parker’s 16-year-old daughter also was arrested Friday and was expected to be arraigned at Remann Hall Juvenile Detention Center Tuesday. She faces the same charges as her mother.
Investigators said at least a dozen women have come forward with stories of interacting with Parker, who allegedly posed as a photographer offering to take free pictures of newborns as a way to bolster her portfolio.
The ads were placed in Facebook groups for new mothers.
Parker went to the victim’s Spanaway home three times. The last time was Feb. 7, when she and her daughter allegedly drugged the new mother.
Charging papers give this account:
Parker and her daughter arrived at the victim’s house that evening with multiple cupcakes. They told the new mother they were trying different recipes and trying to sell the baked goods.
The victim said she was “pressured” into eating two cupcakes.
After taking a bite from the second cupcake, the victim said her lips and face went numb. Then her arms and legs.
Wanting to lay down, she asked Parker and her daughter to leave her home.
Mother and daughter left moments later, but only after wiping down the drinking glasses they’d used and covertly stealing the victim’s house keys, records say.
When the victim noticed her house keys were gone, she texted Parker to ask if she had them.
Parker allegedly said she’d found the keys in her yard and offered to have them delivered.
The victim was unstable on her feet, vomiting and drifting in and out of consciousness so she called 911.
After having blood work done at an area hospital, doctors said the victim appeared to have been drugged, possibly with GHB, known more commonly as the date rape drug.
The victim reported the incident to the Sheriff’s Department.
She also spoke with several other mothers in the Facebook group where she’d met Parker.
Those women said “things got a little hazy when the defendant was over and that things were missing from their homes,” prosecutors wrote in charging papers.
Detectives found text messages between Parker and an ex-boyfriend dating back to November 2019, when Parker allegedly asked if he could get her GHB.
Parker “talked about how they should get a kid from a homeless person and raise the child together in a nice house,” records say.
The ex-boyfriend joked about kidnapping a baby.
Parker said she’d marry him immediately if he could find her a baby girl in the next five weeks.
Parker’s teenage daughter also sent her mother’s ex-boyfriend a message suggesting kidnapping because her mother “wants a baby girl more than anything, one that she can call her own,” records say.
In the ads Parker posted online, she offered to take free portraits of women at least 37 weeks pregnant or with an infant no more than one week old.
During the photography sessions, Parker allegedly used a Nikon camera to shoot pictures of the babies, and used her personal cellphone to take selfies with the newborns.
It was not uncommon for her to make repeat trips to the same homes.
Investigators believe Parker was trying to take pictures with the newborns at various times since her plan was to kidnap a child and raise it out of state, sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.
No other mothers reported being drugged.
She is believed to have only drugged the victim because that was likely the baby she’d chosen to kidnap, Troyer said.
The investigation into the attempted kidnapping is continuing, and additional charges may be added, according to prosecutors.
Parker moved back to Washington state last year after losing a mayoral election in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
There, she did social marketing for a plumbing business and started a nonprofit that aimed to build a tiny housing village for homeless people.
During the election, she described her principles this way: “Honesty, good moral code/compass, caring, respectful, smart, understanding, common sense, ethics, ability to think outside the box,” according to a Ballotpedia survey.
Her ex-husband, Daniel Gaines, described her a different way.
“Juliette is, she’s a very clever cunning individual,” he told KIRO-TV. “She’s fairly intelligent and she’s insanely manipulative.”
The couple divorced in 2004.
Gaines said he is upset their teenage daughter was dragged into the plot to kidnap a baby, but believes she must be held accountable if she’s guilty.
The couple also has a 10-year-old son who lives with his father.
Parker was convicted in 2014 of second-degree reckless burning, court records show.
In that incident, she and an ex-boyfriend tried to dismantle a grenade when it went off. The ex-boyfriend severely damaged two fingers in the explosion. Parker had shrapnel in her eye and face.
Police said the explosion occurred in a room above where two children, aged 4 and 10, were sleeping and blasted a hole in the floor.
Anyone who has interacted with a woman posing as a photographer under the names “Juliette Parker,” “Juliette Noel” or “Juliette Gaines” is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 253-798-7724.