Kansas Woman Charged in Stinnett Murder-Kidnapping

Kan. Woman Charged in Slaying, Kidnapping (AP)

A baby girl who had been cut out of her mother’s womb was found after a frantic search, and authorities arrested the woman they say strangled the mother and stole the child. The baby was in good condition Saturday. The child was found Friday at an eastern Kansas home. A red Toyota similar to a description given earlier by police was in the driveway. Lisa M. Montgomery, 36, of Melvern, Kan., was arrested later Friday and charged with kidnapping resulting in death.

Bobbie Jo Stinnett, 23, was found Thursday in a pool of blood inside her small white home in Skidmore, a town in northwest Missouri. Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant, had earlier been talking with her mother on the phone, and hung up saying a woman she had chatted with online had just arrived at her door, authorities said.

U.S. Attorney Todd Graves said Montgomery contacted Stinnett through an online message board, and authorities zeroed in on her using computer forensics. Montgomery was seeking to buy a dog from Stinnett, who raised rat terriers, he said.
Stinnett, married for little more than a year and expecting her first child, worked at an engine factory in nearby Maryville. Her husband was at work when she was killed, authorities said.

The baby was named Victoria Jo and was united with her father, Zeb Stinnett, late Friday, Stormont-Vail Regional Health Center in Topeka said in a statement Saturday on its Web site. She was listed in good condition at the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. Zeb Stinnett called the girl “a miracle.” “I want to thank family, friends, Amber Alert and law enforcement officials for their support during this time,” Stinnett said in the news release.

Montgomery is the mother of two high school-age children, but Graves said she had been pregnant with another child that was never born. It’s unclear when she lost the baby or under what circumstances, but the complaint said she had lied to her husband about giving birth. Graves declined to give a motive for the crime.

Absolutely bizarre. And, isn’t this always the way:

The grisly slaying shocked neighbors in the towns where the two women lived. “They’re very normal country people,” said Sandra Bullock, 45, who lives about a mile down the road from the Montgomerys. “It’s too hard to believe.” Stinnetts’ neighbor Bill Dragoo was equally surprised. “It blows my mind that this happened,” he said. “She was such a shy person. They didn’t deserve this.”

Who does?

Update: The Amber Alert report has more:

A woman was charged Friday with killing a pregnant woman and kidnapping the baby that was cut from her womb. Authorities found the infant was found in good health, ending a day of frantic searching.

U.S. Attorney Todd Graves said Lisa M. Montgomery, 36, of Melvern, Kan., was charged with kidnapping resulting in death in the slaying of 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett, who was found nearly dead Thursday in her Skidmore home. Paramedics tried to revive her, but she was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Although DNA tests were pending to confirm the baby’s identity, authorities called off the Amber Alert issued for the child. “We’re confident we have the little girl that was taken from Skidmore,” Nodaway County Sheriff Ben Espey said during a news conference in Maryville.

Graves said Montgomery contacted Stinnett through an online message board. Montgomery was seeking to buy a dog from Stinnett, who raised rat terriers, he said.

Even more bizarre.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.