By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin
---- — MUNCIE — Police on Monday were still investigating an unusual string of events, and apparent lies, which led Friday to a “movie-like” abduction attempt of an infant and the arrest of an Anderson woman.
Judith Ann Walker, 34, is accused of entering a woman’s Muncie home under the pretext of performing exterminator duties, choking the woman with a cord and attempting to abscond with her 3-week-old infant late Friday morning.
Walker was stopped while driving a car by Anderson police Friday evening, arrested and transported back to Muncie, where she was questioned by detectives. She faces preliminary charges of attempted murder, burglary, strangulation, criminal confinement and battery with a deadly weapon. As of Monday evening, she was being held in Delaware County Jail without bond. No court appearance had been set as of Monday night.
But what authorities find haunting about the attempted abduction is an apparently high level of premeditation by Walker.
“I can’t say much about our investigation right now, but we do know she had an elaborate plan in place to abduct this baby,” said Muncie Police Department Detective Steve Cox, who called the abduction attempt “movie-like.”
According to Cox, Walker, an employee with exterminator Affordable Pest Control, first visited the victim’s home in the 5000 block of West Fernwood Way on June 4 for an appointment to spray for pill bugs and caterpillars. While at the home, Walker made unusual comments about being the mother of a newborn, police say.
Cox said he believes Walker had been lying to friends and relatives about recently giving birth and had worn a fake baby belly to strengthen the illusion. Walker told other acquaintances she was close to adopting a baby.
Walker also called the victim on another day, and allegedly showed up at the home on Wednesday claiming to be there for a follow-up appointment.
Walker called the victim again on Friday, leaving a voice mail saying she would be coming by for another appointment. She showed up just a few minutes later, wearing a wig, and talked her way into the home, according to police.
The probable cause affidavit of the incident described what allegedly happened next. The victim suddenly noticed Walker behind her, staring at the baby and commenting on how beautiful the baby was. Walker then grabbed the victim’s phone, wrapped a cord around her neck and pulled it tightly. She then demanded the woman hand over the 3-week-old girl.
“Afterwards, when we looked at the victim, we saw that a pretty serious attempt to strangle her had been made,” Cox said. “There were marks (on the woman’s neck). At one point, (Walker) threatened to shoot her, but we’re unsure if a gun was involved.”
The victim eventually fought off the assailant, gathered her child and went to a neighbor’s home. Anderson Police Department officers, who were asked by Muncie Police to be on the lookout, were tipped off that Walker would be heading to her home (court documents indicate she lives off West Petty Road) on Friday night. Officers stopped her SUV just before 7 p.m. and made the arrest.
On Saturday, the victim identified Walker as the assailant from a six-person lineup.
Cox said it’s possible the suspect wasn’t specifically targeting the victim, which is what makes the case so scary.
“The victim could’ve been anyone she came in contact with,” he said. “She realized this woman had a newborn, and at some point became very fixated on the girl and made a strong attempt to abduct her.”
Walker had another recent run-in with the law. Charges in Madison County for possession of a controlled substance and battery are pending from an incident in May.
The man who apparently tipped off Anderson police to Walker’s location, ex-husband Bruce Gee Sr., was wanted on a charge of child molestation, was arrested Friday and has been released on bond.
Find Jack Molitor on Facebook and @aggiejack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.