First Ever Image of Abducted Baby - Can this help find Elias Monroy?
“My name is Maria Pacheco. Thirty-six years ago my newborn baby was stolen from my arms by a stranger. His name is Elias Junior Monroy. Can you please help me find him?”
Maria’s son, Elias Monroy, was abducted from a Los Angeles hospital more than three decades ago. He was born on January 15, 1987. Two weeks later, on February 2, he was kidnapped from a pediatric clinic by an unidentified woman.
To help find Maria’s son, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has created the very first image of him. NCMEC’s forensic artist used photos of Elias’s siblings and other family members to estimate what he might look like today at 36-years-old. There were no photographs of Elias taken after his birth, so this age progression image is the first and only photo of Elias.
It was a Monday afternoon, Feb. 2, 1987, when investigators said Maria took her two-week-old infant for a routine checkup at the LA-USC Medical Center located at 2051 Marengo Street in Los Angeles, Ca.
Maria told police, while she was waiting in the pediatric clinic waiting room, a Hispanic woman became friendly with her. Shortly thereafter, the woman offered to hold Maria's infant son, Elias, while Maria went to search for baby formula in the hospital. When Maria returned, both the woman and Elias were gone.
“It was a very difficult day, which I will never forget. I could not walk well, because of my cesarean delivery,” Maria said. “She was a very well-groomed young woman who took advantage of a time of need. She offered me help knowing that I needed it. My son was crying. I didn’t go far, in a blink of an eye she disappeared with him,” she told NCMEC.
Maria provided police with a description of the woman who took her baby. She told them the woman was a Hispanic in her late 20s to early 30s, with light-colored frosted black hair and a medium-dark complexion. The woman was wearing a yellow blouse and was approximately 5' to 5'2" tall, weighing 135-140 pounds. Maria also said that her baby, Elias, was wrapped in a cream-colored blanket.
The Los Angeles Police Department launched an investigation into the abduction of baby Elias, and during their inquiries, they uncovered a similar incident that occurred about 70 miles away, just two weeks prior, on January 14th According to the police, an unidentified mother was at a post office in Hesperia, California when a Hispanic female, matching the description of the woman at the clinic, approached her and asked to hold her baby. The mother declined, but when they reached the parking lot, the woman asked again, and this time a male accomplice attempted to grab the baby from the mother's arms. The mother managed to escape by running into a nearby store with her baby. Although police have not been able to officially confirm if the two cases are related but its highly possible that this was the same female suspect in both incidents.
More than thirty years later, what happened to Elias is still a mystery. Maria is praying her son is out there and will somehow see NCMEC’s new image of him. Her message to her son, “Elias look for me! Communicate with me. I am your mom and you were my dream come true that someone took from me.”
There are many notable recovery cases making news headlines. Angeline Hartmann, Director of Communications at NCMEC, hopes Elias’s case will be added to that list.
“We believe that Elias could be out there and may not know his real identity,” said Angeline Hartmann. “We’ve worked with families in similar situations where their babies were kidnapped and then found alive as adults. Recently, a woman discovered that she was abducted as a baby. She had no idea that her family had been looking for her for 51 years!”
At NCMEC, the term, “infant abduction” is used for babies taken under one-year-old. Among non-family infant abductions, most (62%) were committed by a lone woman of child-bearing age for maternal reasons. Often times, they wanted to raise the baby as their own. NCMEC has developed a list of characteristics from an analysis of 337 missing infants under six months of age related to healthcare occurring from 1964 through August 2022, in the United States. However, there is no guarantee an infant abductor will fit this description. To learn more about infant abductions, visit NCMEC’s website: https://www.missingkids.org/theissues/infantabductions
Take a look at the age progression image of Elias Monroy. If you think you could be Elias Monroy or you know someone who could be Elias, or if you know who the “unidentified” female abductor may be, please call the Los Angeles Police Department at 1-877-ASK-LAPD (1-877-275-5273) or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).