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Woman accused of kidnapping cousin's baby had previous miscarriage, authorities say

Stephanie Augustin, 23, held in jail without bond

Stephanie Augustin is accused of kidnapping her cousin's 2-month-old daughter, Taraji Kemp.
Stephanie Augustin is accused of kidnapping her cousin's 2-month-old daughter, Taraji Kemp.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A woman accused of kidnapping her cousin's 2-month-old baby at gunpoint recently had a miscarriage, an arrest report said.

According to Broward Sheriff's Office detectives, a friend who co-owns the 2010 Nissan Altima that Stephanie Augustin, 23, used in the incident told authorities that Augustin told her last August that she was pregnant and that she had given birth in January.

But detectives said Augustin actually had a miscarriage.

According to detectives, Augustin and her 14-year-old cousin snatched Taraji Kemp from her home on Northwest 14th Court, near Fort Lauderdale, just after 11 p.m. Friday.

Authorities released the 911 call Tuesday made by Kemp's mother just after the kidnapping.

"They took my baby," Taraji's mother said through tears.

The woman told the dispatcher that she didn't recognize the two people, and initially believed they were two men.

"They put a gun in my face and they told me that they're going to kill me," she said. "They just took my baby."

Augustin was arrested Saturday night after a Florida Highway Patrol trooper spotted her car on Florida's Turnpike in Fort Pierce. Her cousin's parents turned their son in to authorities after he confessed his involvement to them, the report said.

Authorities said Taraji was later found by herself at Augustin's apartment in Orlando. The baby was taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children as a precaution.

According to the report, Augustin and the teen went to a Walmart earlier in the day and purchased a handgun, a black hoodie and Clorox.

Detectives said the duo later went to the victim's home, where she was lying in bed with her mother.

The teen pointed the gun to the mother's head and told her that he does not "usually do this," the report said.

Neighbors told detectives and Local 10 News that they saw Augustin arrive at the home with her car lights turned off, but didn't suspect anything.

They said they saw her come out of the home a few minutes later with what appeared to be a "bundle of clothes," but authorities believe it actually was Taraji.

Detectives said Augustin was hanging out at the home earlier in the day and family members told Local 10 News that she may have been "obsessed" with the baby.

"I'm not sure what her motives were, why she reacted in such a crazy way, but I guess my other cousin probably was obsessed, or something like that, with my little cousin's baby," a woman who identified herself only as Veronica said.

Deputies said the teenager who was involved in the kidnapping is being held at a juvenile detention center. He does not have a prior arrest history.

Augustin remains at the main Broward County jail without bond.


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