Great Neck family: 'Tremendous miracle'
A Great Neck mother held her 5-month-old daughter extra tight Thursday -- with good reason.
Just 24 hours earlier, the child had been briefly abducted by the family's just-laid-off housekeeper, officials said.
"God did a tremendous miracle for us," the mother, Tammy Hayempour, said as Esther cooed in the family's living room, fresh from a nap.
Police said the live-in housekeeper took the infant daughter from the family's Allenwood Road home Wednesday morning because the family of 13 has "so many children that they just don't have time for her," according to a statement the housekeeper gave to police that was included in court records.
The housekeeper, Gloria Suarez, planned to take the baby out of Nassau County -- as far away as her native Uruguay, authorities said.
Suarez was arrested within hours of taking the infant, police said.
On Thursday, a Nassau judge ordered Suarez, 55, jailed without bail. She faces charges ranging from kidnapping and child endangerment to obstruction of governmental administration and resisting arrest. A judge also issued an order of protection for the baby, Esther "Estee" Miriam Hayempour.
Suarez's court-appointed attorney, Yolanda Guerra, said that the housekeeper denied all of the allegations.
According to a statement Suarez gave police after being captured at the Roslyn train station, the housekeeper said, "The Hayempours have many children. . . . They . . . don't take care of their children."
Said Suarez: "I knew that the baby would get more love and attention from me than she would ever get from those people."
Tammy Hayempour, 42, said she'd trusted Suarez completely and had no idea that Suarez was at all bothered by the fact they have 11 children, who range in age from Esther to a 22-year-old. "She was such a kind person, I didn't think she'd do anything malicious," Hayempour said.
In fact, Hayempour said, she didn't panic when the baby went missing because she'd thought so highly of Suarez. "I was sure she was in the park somewhere," she said of Suarez.
On Tuesday, Suarez bought baby supplies, police said. Then Wednesday, while the mother was sleeping, Suarez changed the girl's outfit from pink to blue clothes and left, said prosecutor Melissa Lewis.
The infant's father, Yitzchok Hayempour, who is the rabbi of Ohel Menachem in Great Neck, spotted Suarez with the baby on Middle Neck Road at about 10:20 a.m., authorities said.
When he saw Suarez, he grew suspicious because his daughter was not in a stroller and Suarez wasn't supposed to have her, according to Det. Sgt. Steven Zeth, a supervisor from the Manhasset-based Sixth Squad, one of several police forces on the case.
Hayempour parked, but by the time he did, Suarez was gone.
The family searched for the child themselves but soon called 911 and the police began their search. Suarez and the infant were found just after noon, according to court records.
When she was cornered at the Roslyn railroad station, Suarez struggled with officers trying to wrest the infant from her arms, police said. "You aren't taking my baby! This is my baby!" she yelled to officers who spotted her trying to flee, police said.
Suarez, of Manhattan, had been hired through an agency about six weeks ago. She was laid off Sunday because the family didn't need her any more, police said.
Tammy Hayempour recalled Thursday how the day before the alleged abduction, Suarez said she needed to stay in the home because she had not secured a place to live. Tammy said Suarez also offered to take care of Esther the next morning. "You could sleep in," Tammy recalled Suarez saying. "You'll have a good sleep."