A New Hampshire woman whose 6-month-old son was put in a relative’s care kidnapped a toddler from a man’s vehicle after he offered her a ride, police said in a report Monday.

The man was driving in Rochester on Saturday when he saw the woman walking in the road and offered her a ride, police said.

Within moments of getting in the vehicle, Joanne Shaw, 25, began unbuckling the 20-month-old girl in the back seat, saying she was going to take the child, according to police.

The driver, identified as Todd Labonte, 52, told police he had never met Shaw before. He said he tried to push her out of the vehicle, but she reached over and grabbed the key. She snapped the key in half, leaving part of it in the ignition, he said.

Shaw managed to get the girl out of the vehicle after Labonte slowed down to pull over to the side of the road. Labonte said he got out and chased after Shaw as she was walking away with his daughter.

When Labonte tried to grab his daughter, she fell to the ground, and Shaw punched him in the face a couple of times and told him the child was not safe with him, Labonte told police.

Three other witnesses at the scene gave accounts similar to Labonte’s, police said.

Shaw was charged with kidnapping, simple assault, criminal mischief and resisting detention. An arraignment was set for Monday afternoon. Her case was assigned to a public defender.

A report from the Strafford County Community Corrections program said Shaw’s mother recently obtained temporary guardianship over Shaw’s 6-month-old son “due to concerns for her declining mental health.” It said Shaw also reports a history of mental illness and was not currently using services.

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KATHY McCORMACK
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