A police officer has been praised after she was seen breastfeeding a newborn baby who had been rescued from a kidnapping by police.
The Colombian police officer said she was “eager to help” as the infant’s predicament “broke her heart”.
The eight-day-old baby was freed on Sunday, and Officer Heidy Jaramillo Vega was entrusted with looking after her until she could be handed back to her parents.
The infant was stolen from her parents in the northern Colombian city of Cartagena de Indias by a woman who, police say wanted to have a baby of her own.
The kidnapper was identified using CCTV, and the baby was rescued the same day.
Vega, 35, of the Children and Adolescents Task Force of the Cartagena Metropolitan Police, who has a six-month-old daughter herself, said: “The situation broke my heart.
“I was eager to help, but also had mixed emotions of sorrow and joy.
“I have never had an experience like this before in my career.”
Vega, who has been a police officer for 11 years, continued: “Many things went through my head when I was first called in.
“I imagined the baby girl’s sad look and her cry of despair, missing the warmth of her mother that she had been detached from.
“I also thought that she had to be very hungry and felt helpless to not be able to be there instantly to cuddle her in my arms.”
Police believe the baby girl was abducted by a woman who had befriended the parents and offered to help them with baby products to gain their trust.
The woman had first approached the parents on Saturday offering them food and baby products for their newborn daughter.
The following day, she approached them again, offering them clothes and toys for the baby.
After she was briefly entrusted with the baby, she jumped on a motorbike and fled to a village outside of Cartagena, according to a police statement.
Chief Police Commander Antonio Parra Jaimes said: “We located and raided the house and managed to rescue the minor. The woman was arrested and charged with kidnapping.
“She had told her family members and her husband previously that she was pregnant to make it seem natural that she would suddenly give birth to a baby”.
In the statement, Mr Jaimes said: “Once the minor was rescued, the Children and Adolescents Taskforce took care of breastfeeding the baby, who accepted the feeding with pleasure.”
Ms Vega breastfed the newborn baby on the way from the village of Rotinet and back to Cartagena, where she handed her back to the waiting parents.
She said: “Saying goodbye to the parents somehow left me with a feeling of emptiness.
“I had been breastfeeding the baby, and it reminded me of my daughter.
“But then I recalled the happiness on the face of the mother when I gave her back her baby and felt a great satisfaction. I felt proud about my job and about being able to do what I did.”
An average of four children are abducted every month in Colombia according to an estimate by the local NGO Pais Libre.
Ms Vega said: “I was worried about the well-being of the baby when I handed her back as her parents are not in the best situation to ensure her care.
“I instructed them to do control check-ups with health authorities to make sure that the baby develops well.
“It was a difficult moment for me. But caring for the baby is the job of the mother. It is what brings her happiness at the end of the day.”