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Woman charged in Quebec newborn abduction; remains unconscious in hospital

TROIS-RIVIERES, Que. - A woman is facing charges of kidnapping and abduction in connection with the case of a day-old newborn who was snatched from a Quebec maternity ward.

One of the charges filed Wednesday against Valerie Poulin Collins, 21, carries a maximum sentence of life behind bars.

The Crown charged Poulin Collins in Trois-Rivieres, Que., even though she was unable to appear in court.

Earlier in the day, prosecutor Marie-Eve Paquet told reporters the suspect had been admitted to hospital, where she remained unconscious and intubated.

Once the charges were laid, the Crown indicated she would appear before a judge as soon as possible.

"The appearance in court will occur when the medical situation will be better for Ms. Poulin Collins," Crown spokesman Jean-Pascal Boucher said.

Police arrested Poulin Collins at her home on Monday, three hours after a woman posing as a nurse snatched a 16-hour-old infant from a local hospital. The missing baby girl was returned to her parents safe and sound.

Officers tracked down Poulin Collins with the help of locals who recognized the woman from a photo sent out with an Amber Alert.

The young woman, who celebrated her 21st birthday on Saturday, is now facing serious criminal charges.

"Two accusations were laid against Ms. Poulin Collins...One for kidnapping and the other one (for) abduction of a person under 14 years old," Boucher said.

If convicted, the abduction offence carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. If she's found guilty of the kidnapping count, the sentence ranges from a minimum punishment of five years in jail to imprisonment for life.

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