Preview: A four-week-old girl is kidnapped, leaving her mother in anguish and police scrambling to find her. As days go by with no sign of the baby or demands for ransom, sergeants Joe Kenda and Robert Sapp fear she’s been sold on the black market or worse. -Homicide Hunter, Investigation Discovery
On February 19, 1988, 5 week old Rachel Ann White was abducted from her grandmother’s Colorado Springs, Colorado home. Detective Joe Kenda met Robert Sapp of the Colorado Springs PD Juvenile Crimes Unit at Evelyn Reed’s house. Evelyn explained that she was taking care of Rachel for her daughter Cora Abbott and was interviewing potential baby sitter candidates. One of the potential candidates was a hispanic woman by the name of Sharon Sanchez. Evelyn was interviewing Sharon when the phone rang and Evelyn asked ‘Sharon’ to hold Rachel while she went into the other room to answer it. When Evelyn returned, Sharon and Rachel were gone and when she ran outdoors to see if she could stop her, Sharon was driving away in a light colored vehicle with Texas plates.
Investigators were not sure where to go with the investigation because Sharon Sanchez was an alias but they worked on the case around the clock and used the media to reach out to the public. Then they got a phone call from an Air Force Major. The Major informed Kenda that he had an Air Force officer, Captain Paul Rentz, working for him who said his wife had a baby and this was suspicious because Paul never said anything about his wife being pregnant. The Major and his wife stopped by Captain Rentz’s home to give the baby a proper Air Force welcome and to congratulate them. But his wife Maritza made excuses and was reluctant to let them in the house to see the baby; she eventually relented. After visiting the baby and leaving their home, the Major’s wife said it was not a newborn baby and she definitely wasn’t 3 days old. Then they saw the news that a baby was kidnapped and called the police right away. Kenda and Sapp didn’t hesitate to investigate this promising tip.
Kenda and Sapp went straight to the Rentz’s home. When they arrived at the home, the first thing they spotted was a small silver car with Texas plates that matched the description of the vehicle they were looking for. Kenda and Sapp questioned Maritza Rentz and asked her where she had the baby, who was the doctor, and where was the birth certificate. When Maritza produced a birth certificate, the birth certificate lead one to believe the baby was two days old. Kenda and Sapp knew this wasn’t a real birth certificate because they both had children. They demanded to see the baby. Maritza retrieved the child and she was a perfect match to the composite drawing. They also observed this was not a newborn and they knew immediately it was Rachel White. Captain Rentz appeared to be dumbfounded that the baby wasn’t his. Kenda and Sapp notified Cora Abbott that they found her baby.
Kenda said that when Cora was reunited with her daughter, the daughter she never thought she would see again, it was a very touching moment. Maritza Rentz was charged with kidnapping and Paul Rentz was questioned. He told investigators that Maritza didn’t have sex with him throughout the ‘pregnancy’ because she said it was harmful to the child. She also wouldn’t let him see her body. He admitted that things were rocky. Paul Rentz’ culpability was definitely in question because investigators couldn’t imagine that he didn’t know. But Maritza confirmed Paul didn’t know. She told investigators that she was pregnant but lost her baby and didn’t have the heart to tell Paul. She said she put pillows under her clothes so it appeared she was pregnant. She said she couldn’t see any other way and hoped the baby would help the relationship. When it was time for the baby to be born, Maritza said she was faced with a choice: come clean to her husband or find a baby.
Maritza read the newspaper ads and the difficulty she ran into was that most of the kids were too old. And then she found Cora Abbott’s ad looking for someone to watch her infant while she was at work. Maritza created a false identity, responded to the ad, and visited Evelyn Reed’s home for the interview. She admitted she almost didn’t follow through with the abduction but when the phone rang, the opportunity presented itself and she took it. When she returned home, she called Paul and told him she just got back from the hospital where she had the baby. Paul didn’t question any of it. Kenda reminded the viewer that being stupid isn’t against the law and believing your wife is not a criminal act. He admitted it was difficult to prosecute Paul Rentz because they didn’t have enough evidence to prove anything against him. As a result, he was found not guilty. Maritza pleaded guilty to second degree kidnapping but the judge didn’t give her any jail time. Instead, she claimed mental insanity and was confined to an institution for one year. The happy ending is that Rachel was found against all odds and she is thriving as a young woman.
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