Tabitha Reid, convicted of kidnapping baby from church nursery, gets prison time

| March 3, 2010

GRAND RAPIDS — The father of the 11-month-old infant who was plucked from a church nursery and kidnapped by Tabitha Reid this summer said he has decided to forgive his child's abductor.

"I offer my forgiveness," said Tom Nolf, moments before Reid was sentenced to between four and 20 years today in Kent County Circuit Court. "The bottom line is I hold no animosity against her."

Tabitha Reid took baby Savannah Raby from the Kentwood Community Church nursery on June 21. Reid was a volunteer at the nursery. Police said she took the child to a friend's home, where the little girl was found unharmed a short time later.

Prior to the incident, police say Reid, now 20, visited other church nurseries and was caught stealing baby clothes from a Wyoming store.

Reid apologized to the family in a brief statement before Judge George Buth handed down the sentence.

""I never meant to hurt anyone," Reid said.

Defense attorney Carolyn Gaston said her client suffers from oppositional defiant disorder and social dysfunction.

But Reid was found competent to stand trial after being evaluated at the Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Ypsilanti.

After the sentencing, Reid's family members apologized to Nolf and Nolf said he forgave them.

"I have to look at this from a religious perspective," Nolf said. "Jesus told us to forgive. Over time, I had to let go of the animosity."

Nolf said he feels fortunate that his child was not harmed.

"A lot of people who go through this experience have it a lot worse," said Nolf adding he went to school with Consuela Martinez, whose 2-year-old daughter is currently missing and presumed dead.

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Category: Church Security

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