Teen Baby Bandit Caught and Arrested

Published May 29, 2009

A teenage babysitter who fled North Carolina with a 9-month-old child and had no intentions of returning, has been caught and arrested.

Investigators in Hoke County say 17-year-old Renesha Shante Griner was keeping Saniya Purcell while her mother was away during Memorial Day weekend.  When the mother, Victoria Purcell, returned, Griner and the baby were gone.

Investigators say Griner called the baby's mother last week and asked if she could baby-sit little Saniya. Griner picked the child up Friday, and Victoria Purcell left for the weekend.

Hoke County, N.C., Sheriff Hubert Peterkin told ABC 11 Eyewitness News in Raleigh, N.C. that Griner had been using the baby as bait and had convinced her ex- boyfriend that the baby was his and traveled to his home in Opp, a small town just north of the Florida border and about 675 miles southwest of Raeford, N.C.

"Apparently she's been telling the young man for about a year that first she was pregnant, then she had the child, sending him pictures through the computer of the baby saying it was their child," Peterkin said.  "We found out that the family [of the young man] were expecting the baby...they had embraced this child as their own and so did the young man, him being the father."

Peterkin said the family of Griner's ex-boyfriend is extremely upset. He said that they were really accepting of the child and had financially prepared for the mother and the baby.

Authorities arrested Griner in Opp, Ala., Thursday night. Now, the Purcell family is making preparations to travel there to get their baby back.

Written by BET.com Staff

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