A woman in Tainan City, suspected to be suffering from postpartum depression, sent police on a wild goose chase yesterday, after she handed her 5-day-old baby to a woman she had met on the Internet, then reported him missing.
The 25-year-old first-time mother, named Shi (施), was staying in a postpartum rest center, and was apparently dissatisfied with her husband’s lack of attention.
When Shi’s husband, Mr Lin, 27, declined to take her to the night market, and instead went to a massage parlor, Shi became angry. Ms Shi communicated with a 32-year-old woman named Zhang, who had lost her own child by miscarriage, and arranged to “lend” her baby to Zhang for a few days.
Yesterday evening, Shi took a taxi to the massage parlor her husband patronized, and asked the taxi driver if the massage parlor was legitimate or offered “extra services.” The taxi reassured Shi that no sexual services were offered at that establishment.
Shi then proceeded to the Hua-yuan Night Market where she had arranged to meet Ms Zhang, a resident of Taichung City. The two women had a steak dinner together, then Shi handed her newborn son over to Zhang’s care.
A short time later, Shi went to the night market management and reported that her baby had been in a stroller, and when she turned away momentarily to pay for her meal, the baby and stroller had disappeared.
After police received the report at around 9:00pm, a search of the night market was conducted, including a search of 20 garbage skips, which were emptied, and the contents sifted through. The search of the night market lasted more than one hour.
Reports of the missing baby also spread like wildfire on social media.
Police who questioned Shi were suspicious of her story. At around 6:00am this morning, Shi confessed that she had made up the story because she was angry at her husband.
Police located the infant at Ms Zhang’s home in Taichung City at around 11:00am this morning, and informed the Social Affairs Bureau.
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