A woman pretended she was pregnant for nine months – then staged her own abduction on the day she was supposed to give birth before claiming a gang had cut the baby from her womb.
Colombian, Antonela Milena Padilla, 37, reportedly used a cushion to fool her husband into believing she was pregnant in a bid to convince him not to leave her.
As the months went by she increased the size of her belly by filling the cushion with rags, and printed off an ultrasound scan from the internet to show to family and friends, according to reports.
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Antonela Milena Padilla (centre) was taken to the hospital by her family, after they grew increasingly concerned for her health
Incredibly, her husband never suspected anything was wrong and as the day of the birth neared, became increasingly excited at being a father for the first time.
But the elaborate scam spectacularly unravelled on Saturday (22), the day she was due to give birth by C-section at a local hospital.
Ms Padilla, from Barranquilla, northern Colombia, reportedly left home at 10am and headed to the clinic, but later said she had been kidnapped by a gang in a red van who bundled her inside and later drugged her.
She claimed she woke up at 7pm that evening outside a supermarket in another part of town, and realised the baby was no longer in her womb.
Ms Padilla reportedly called home and told her husband and other family members that an organ trafficking gang had cut the baby from her belly in order to sell the baby’s body parts.
Worried about her health, her family took her against her will to the local Nino Jesus de Soledad hospital, where shocked medics called police, who launched a massive operation to track down the alleged kidnappers.
But officers quickly began to doubt the woman’s story, especially after a hospital evaluation found she had suffered no knife injuries consistent with a ‘back street caesarean’.
A further blood test found she had never been pregnant, and found no traces of any sedatives in her body.
Ms Padilla’s mother-in-law, who wasn’t named, told Colombia’s Al Dia newspaper that the woman continued to insist she had been pregnant.
Blood tests found that the woman had never actually been pregnant
She said: ‘They did the tests, and she still tried to convince them she had been expecting. But the gynaecologist confirmed she had never been pregnant.’
She added that her son, Ms Padilla’s husband, who shared a home with her in the San Salvador district of the town, never went with her for her pre-natal check-ups and preferred to wait for her at the entrance to the hospital.
She said: ‘She had a belly, it was small, but it never raised suspicions. My son lived with her, they slept together. But he never touched her belly or tried to bond with the baby.
The house in Barranquilla, northern Colombia, which Ms Padilla shared with her husband
‘We never suspected anything because although her belly was small, some pregnant women don’t have big bellies so we didn’t think anything was strange.
‘I have to speak with my son so he can tell me what was going on. He has had various relationships but never had children. There is no need, no reason for her to do this.’
Police commander Mariano Cotero Coy said yesterday that an investigation had been launched and Ms Padilla had been called to provide a declaration.
He said she could be charged with wasting public resources.
He said: ‘In the hospital, we see people lying down in queues, from 5am waiting for an appointment, and this lady feigning her pregnancy meant that she was attended to before others who really needed it.’
Ms Padilla’s husband had never been with her for pre-natal check ups
He added: ‘The woman went around showing an ultrasound scan that she had taken form the internet, she simply modified it and deceived her sentimental partner. But at the hospital she took a test which showed she had never been pregnant.’
Ms Padilla reportedly fled the hospital at 3am on Sunday morning, two hours after blood tests confirmed she had not been pregnant, and her whereabouts are still unknown.