CAIRO: An afternoon trip to a hairdressing salon in Masakin Atlas turned into a nightmare for one mother when her child was stolen from under her nose.
The mother had gone to have her hair done, and had taken her baby with her. While she waited for her turn, she was approached by another woman in the salon, who offered to switch places with her and look after the baby until she was done.
The mother agreed, but when she rose from her seat again to collect her child, the mysterious woman was gone.
Three days later the police surrounded the kidnapper s house, returned the baby to his parents and arrested the childnapper.
The story begins with an orfi (unregistered) marriage between a divorcee and a perfume seller. Seeking continuation of their relationship, she decided to have a baby from him, but she was unable to conceive because of her advancing years and because she had undergone several surgical operations that have affected her fertility.
Sayeda Sayed Khater, 43, was divorced years ago, leaving her three sons with their father. She began looking for another man to spend the rest of her life with after she became old and unable to work. She met a perfume seller in al-Salam City and accepted to become his wife through a orfi contract so that he would take care of her financially.
Thereafter, she lived with him in the Al-Abd housing complex, but when she became afraid of losing him she decided to give birth to a child to ensure he would never leave her.
But her attempts were to no avail. Ten months ago doctors told her that she would never give birth to again because of her advancing years and the number of surgeries she had undergone.
She became obsessed by fears of living without a man, and gave him the false impression that she was pregnant and began to think of a way to get a newborn baby.
While she was at a hairdressing salon in Atlas housing complex, she saw some women carrying newborn babies. She had the idea of abducting one of them to solve her problem.
Four days ago while she was waiting for her turn at the hairdresser s she saw Mahasin Ibrahim Desouki, a 32-year-old housewife, carrying her baby, two-month-old Mo men Mahmoud. She had a conversation with her and urged her to take her place so that she would not be late for the sake of the child. She also offered her to carry the baby until she finished.
The mother did not feel even a slight niggle about her coincidental friend, and gave her the baby after she had planted a kiss on his forehead. In a few moments the childnapper had slipped out of the shop and taken flight.
Once home she sat thinking of a way to convince her husband that the baby was his son. Therefore, she purchased a quantity of milk and napkins and locked herself in.
Meanwhile the bereaved mother looked for the childnapper but to no avail.
All the ladies who were present at the shop confirmed that they did not know her. She began to hit herself on the face and pull her hair to spoil the hairstyle which caused the loss of her child
The grief-stricken mother returned home and recounted all the tragic details to her husband, who made a formal complaint at the police station. A search team headed by Major General Abdel Gawad Ahmed Abdel Gawad was formed, headed by assistant Interior Minister for the public department for Cairo Investigation, to solve the mysterious crime.
After further enquiries the mother gave a very detailed description of the accused. The mother s testimony was upheld by Hweida Othman, 28, the owner of the hairdressers.
Lieutenant Colonel Ali Noureddine, head of the El-Salam Investigation bureau, managed to find an eyewitness who led the police to the house of the accused and she was subsequently arrested.
As the police force surrounded the house of the accused she held the baby tightly to her chest, screaming and begging them to leave him to her in order not to lose everything. She claimed she had intended to dedicate her life to taking care of the child after she had lost hope of ever bearing a child.
A few minutes later she broke down in tears and turned herself in. The prosecution ordered her imprisoned and the baby returned to his parents.