A Southern California woman accused of kidnapping her 4-month-old granddaughter last month and then claiming the child was hers was arraigned in Contra Costa County Superior Court this afternoon, but did not enter a plea. Ericka Gallego, a 58-year-old El Monte resident, has been charged with kidnapping and residential burglary. Investigators allege that she took a bus and a taxi from El Monte in Los Angeles County to Knightsen in eastern Contra Costa County, where her son lives with his wife and four young children. Then, either late on May 21 or early the morning of May 22, authorities suspect that Ericka Gallego snuck into the family’s house and abducted Ramy Gallego from her bassinet while everybody was asleep. Ericka Gallego then allegedly took a taxi back to Southern California with the baby, investigators said. Ramy’s parents discovered that she was missing at about 6 a.m. on May 22 and the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office launched a major search. Ericka Gallego was arrested that evening and Ramy was safely returned to her mother, Kristin Gallego, the next morning. Kristin Gallego said outside the courtroom this afternoon that she has gotten the sense from people who have spoken with her mother-in-law that Ericka Gallego thinks she will not be prosecuted and that the kidnapping was not a big deal. Kristin Gallego’s aunt Karla Storrer said it is reassuring to see that Ericka Gallego is in custody and will have to face her alleged crimes. Kristin, meanwhile, said things at home are slowly getting back to normal, although her older children are still afraid to go into their rooms by themselves and are worried about other people trying to take Ramy, too. During the arraignment today, Judge John Allen kept Ericka Gallego’s bail at $5 million and referred her to the public defender’s office for representation. She is scheduled to return to court in Pittsburg on June 9 to be assigned an attorney and enter a plea.
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