A woman charged with kidnapping her 1-year-old daughter from county services and leading police on a chase through Santa Barbara while driving under the influence of alcohol pleaded not guilty Monday during her arraignment.
Sandra Tapia, 39, of Canoga Park, is charged with child stealing, child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death and evading an officer with willful disregard, all felonies.
The child stealing charges alleges that she “did unlawfully, maliciously, and not having right of custody, take away, entice, detain and conceal minor child … with intent then and there to detain and conceal such minor child from the person having the lawful charge of such child.”
Ms. Tapia also is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, and driving while having a .08% or higher blood alcohol level, both misdemeanors.
Law enforcement arrested her March 23 on suspicion of parental kidnapping of a baby after a pursuit on southbound Highway 101.
Close to 11 a.m. March 23, deputies responded to the area of Santa Barbara County Social Services on Camino Del Remedio to the report of a parental kidnapping that had just occurred, Raquel Zick, public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, said.
Deputies spotted the suspect fleeing the area in her Audi SUV on Calle Real at Camino Del Remedio, where they attempted to stop the vehicle.
Ms. Tapia failed to yield and led deputies on a pursuit along southbound Highway 101, exiting on Garden Street and then traveling on city streets, Ms. Zick said. The pursuing deputies lost sight of Ms. Tapia’s vehicle in the area of W. Pedregosa and De La Vina Street, where they terminated their pursuit.
The assisting deputies shared information with the Santa Barbara Police Department, who located Ms. Tapia, her vehicle and the 1-year-old girl in the 200 block of East Los Olivos Street.
Ms. Tapia was taken into custody at approximately 11:18 a.m. without further incident and was booked at the Main Jail in Santa Barbara on suspicion of kidnapping (felony), child endangerment (felony), evading (felony) and driving under the influence (misdemeanor).
The infant was released to Social Services at the scene and was not physically injured.
Ms. Tapia was released from custody Tuesday night on $200,000 bail.