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Woman cites ethnicity for abducting own child: DA

By Rebecca Henely and Christina Santucci

An Ozone Park woman allegedly told police she kidnapped her infant daughter from Queens Hospital Center because she did not want her baby to live with African-American foster parents, a Queens district attorney’s office spokeswoman said.

Leila Rajnarie, of 101st Avenue and 77th Street, was arraigned Friday in Queens Criminal Court, the DA’s spokeswoman said. Rajnarie, who is 40 years old and Guyanese, has been held at the Rose M. Singer Center at Rikers Island on a $500 bail or $1,000 bond since then, according to city Department of Correction records.

NYPD officers had been on the lookout for Rajnarie and her infant daughter, Nevita Jagedo, March 14 after the mother allegedly fled the Jamaica hospital with the baby, police said. Rajnarie had been at Queens Hospital Center with her 8-month-old daughter and her daughter’s foster mother for a checkup and Rajnarie was suspected of snatching the infant at around 12:17 p.m. when the foster mother was speaking with the doctor, police said.

Rajnarie had allegedly told police she did not want the baby to wake up and see African-American parents, and this statement was repeated by Queens prosecutor Rachel Drucker in court, a DA spokeswoman said.

The Ozone Park woman was spotted the same day at 8:20 p.m. by officers from Patrol Borough Queens South in the back of a livery cab close to 101st Avenue and 133rd Street in South Richmond Hill, according to the criminal complaint.

During an extensive search for the pair, officers had noticed a woman matching the description of the suspect in the cab, police said.

After police pulled over the vehicle, Rajnarie was taken into custody, and the baby, who was found without food and wearing only a diaper, was brought to a local hospital in stable condition, according to the police.

Rajnarie was arrested on charges of kidnapping, custodial interference and endangering the welfare of a child, the NYPD said.

Her next court date is March 21, Correction records said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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