The woman who was denied entry into a North Carolina children’s hospital, charged with felonies and then accused of attempting to steal babies denied that’s what she was trying to do, according to a phone interview she did with TV station WECT.
Linda Mae Everett, 36, entered patient care areas without authorization on April 5 after she was denied initial entry into the children’s hospital at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, according to the hospital.
Hospital staff, upon seeing Everett did not have a visitor’s badge, alerted NHRMC police, who responded and questioned her. Based on Everett’s unauthorized entry into patient care areas, Everett was charged with three counts of felony breaking and entering.
Barbara Buechler, hospital administrator for the Women’s and Children’s unit says the hospital has an extensive layered security system in place, and the first line of defense was breached.
“We have a layered system, first you must show ID to get a visitors badge, then you get a proximity badge that gives you access to locked areas, if you don’t have those you are stopped by a staff member,” Buechler stated.
Buechler said in this case Everett gained access by what of what she calls “tailgating.”
“This is a case where someone has a badge and someone could follow close behind them, but they would then be stopped by the next line of defense, which did occur in this case,” Buechler stated.
In a Tuesday afternoon phone interview, Everett, who is from Archdale, said she was in Wilmington at that time attending a court appearance for her daughter’s partner.
Everett said after court she decided to stop by NHRMC to deliver some children’s bibles to the newborns. She claims she always carries the bibles with her when she travels.
Everett said she went to the lobby of the children’s hospital, presented her driver’s license and was not denied entry, but spoke to a nurse about dropping off the bibles. The nurse then escorted her to the children’s wing of the hospital where the nurse told her they had three births that day.
According to Everett, she delivered three bibles and was stopped by security.
“All I was doing was giving mothers a Bible. I do it all the time,” Everett said. “I have been to that hospital four or five times before and have never gotten stopped.”
NHRMC stated Tuesday Everett was not escorted to the unit by a nurse.
“I’m pregnant, a retired firefighter, and have had to bury a child. … This is not who I am. I am a mother, and I would never take someone else’s child.”
Everett said she surrendered to High Point police on April 17 on warrants issued in New Hanover County. She was given a $10,000 bond, which she posted and was released.
No patients were injured or endangered, according to hospital officials.
Buechler stated in the event that someone like Everett were to abduct a baby, additional security measures are in place.
“All of the staff members in the women’s and children’s hospital wear a pink and blue striped badge, and it’s to educate the families that if someone comes in your room and they are not wearing it, to never release your baby,” Buechler said. “In addition, we have what we call an electronic hugs system. Every newborn has it attached to them so if they are taken from a secured unit, an alarm will sound.”
A little more than a week after the incident at NHRMC, the North Carolina Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAAC) issued a bulletin on April 13 saying Everett “is believed to be going to neonatal units of hospitals in North and South Carolina possibly in attempts to abduct a child.”
Everett’s court appearance in New Hanover County is set for May 21.
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