Woman suspected of kidnapping baby from outside Coyote Valley Casino in Redwood Valley

A 58-year-old Napa woman was arrested Thursday on suspicion of kidnapping after allegedly driving away from a Redwood Valley casino in another woman’s car containing the woman’s 16-month-old infant, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said.

The infant was found unharmed and unrestrained on the back seat of the car when a CHP officer stopped it on Highway 101 in Willits, Sgt. James Wells said in a press release.

The incident began when deputies responded to a stolen vehicle and child abduction report about 5:25 p.m. at the Coyote Valley Casino. The baby’s 40-year-old mother, who was not identified, said she had met the suspect, Wanda Jean Cowan, the night before and had traveled with her Thursday from Lake County to the casino, Wells said.

When the mother walked into the casino, Cowan allegedly left with the car.

Deputies immediately issued a notice to surrounding law enforcement agencies to watch for the car, and were the process of getting an Amber Alert issued when the car was stopped in Willits, Wells said.

Cowan was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on suspicion of kidnapping, child endangerment and possession of stolen property. Her bail was set at $250,000.

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