Woman accused of snatching baby from minivan appears in court to hear charges

Friday, August 16th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ABILENE, Texas (AP) _ A woman accused of snatching a baby from a minivan in a parking lot acted lovingly and regrets the crime, her attorney said.

Paula Roach, a former prison guard, remained jailed on $200,000 bond after an initial court appearance Thursday.

``She's quite remorseful and realizes the significant pain and heartache that she caused,'' Roach's attorney, John Young, said in an interview Thursday night on CNN.

The month-old baby, Nancy Crystal Chavez, was taken from the family's minivan Tuesday afternoon outside a Wal-Mart when her mother turned around to stow a shopping cart. Roach, 24, was arrested the next day in Quanah, a small town 125 miles north of Abilene.

The infant was found unharmed and reunited with her parents.

Authorities said Roach confessed after her arrest in Quanah, and told officers she hadn't planned the abduction.

``She was treating this child _ loving this child _ as if it were her own,'' Young said. ``This is not a case about an animalistic monster who is trying to harm another human being.''

Family members said Roach had convinced them that she had recently given birth. Authorities also said Roach told them she recently had a miscarriage, but that hadn't been verified.

``Understand that her facts around that were sort of consistent with her claims that the baby was hers,'' Abilene Police Sgt. Kim Vickers said.