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Quebec friends find kidnapped baby through Facebook

Photo with Amber alert of suspect in baby kidnapping in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec Image copyright Surete du Quebec
Image caption Charlene Plante said she recognised the woman in the suspect photo released by Quebec police

Four young people in Quebec are being hailed as heroes after they helped find a baby stolen from a hospital in Trois-Rivieres a day after she was born.

Police had issued an alert on Monday night with a photo of the suspect, who was dressed as a nurse.

The four friends were already searching for the baby when one saw the photo on social media and recognised the woman.

They went to the suspect's home and called police when they saw the car described in the alert.

Quebec police said the suspect, a woman in her 20s, was in police custody in hospital. The baby was returned to her parents within three hours of the alert.

The baby's mother and father, Melissa McMahon and Simon Boisclair, posted a Facebook photo and message on Tuesday thanking police officials, media and anyone who shared the photo for helping find their child.

Ms McMahon praised "four marvellous people, whom we had the chance to meet, [who] identified this woman thanks to Facebook".

'Best moment'

The woman, dressed in red hospital scrubs, allegedly took the child saying she needed to weigh her.

She then drove away in a Toyota Yaris with a "Baby on Board" sign, police say.

Ms McMahon said in her Facebook post she tried to chase after the woman when she realised she was not a nurse

"The powerlessness we felt in this situation was difficult to accept... to no longer have her in my arms after barely 16 hours of life was unreal."

Melizanne Bergeron, her sister Sharelle Bergeron, Marc-Andre Cote and Charlene Plante decided to start looking for the child when they first heard she had been stolen from a hospital in Trois-Rivieres

They were already in their vehicle when they saw the suspect's photo and description.

Ms Plante told broadcaster CTV she recognised the woman as a previous neighbour.

"I know her because the police came sometimes," she said.

When they arrived at the residence, they saw the vehicle listed in the alert and called police.

Ms Bergeron told reporters police arrived quickly and broke down the woman's door.

"Thirty seconds after, the baby was in the hands of the police,'' she said. "It was the best moment in my life. We were crying."

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