Wednesday’s attempted abduction of a baby from Southern Regional Medical Center had a good ending when an alarm system and hospital employees thwarted the kidnapping, but that wasn’t the case nearly 19 years ago when 1-month-old Tavish Sutton was taken from a downtown Atlanta hospital.
Despite a $10,000 reward and hundreds of interviews by Atlanta police and the FBI, Tavish, who was recovering from minor surgery when he was abducted from Grady Memorial Hospital’s Hughes Spalding pediatric unit on March 9, 1993, was never found.
“We never really had any good information,” Atlanta police Det. Sheila Cumberworth told the AJC in 1998.
Tavish was in the custody of Family and Children Services when he disappeared. Neither his mother, who was being treated for schizophrenia at a mental institution at the time, nor other family members were considered suspects in his kidnapping.
The boy’s mother, Wanda Sutton, filed suit against Grady in March 1995, claiming the hospital was negligent in not preventing the kidnapping. The hospital settled out of court for $600,000 in 1996.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children still has a file open on Tavish, who would now be 18 years old. The file includes photos showing what Tavish might have looked like at age 4 and last year at age 17.
According to the John Rabun, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the center, Tavish was one of 281 infants abducted nationwide since 1983 that the center has documented. Rabun said that 129 of those cases involved babies abducted from health care facilities, with five of those children still listed as missing.
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