One day after a Texas nurse is accused of killing the mother of a 3-day-old baby and then kidnapping that little boy, there are a mountain of unanswered questions. Verna McClain’s mother was devastated when she learned her daughter had been charged with killing 28-year old Kala Goldenand abducting her 3-day-old baby boy. “I don’t know what’s going on. That’s not my kid,” said McClain’s mother who was sobbing when she talked with KHOU-TV. ”But I’m sorry for the family.” The distraught mother didn’t want her name used, but she said her daughter is a good person who has never been in trouble before. “Very nice, she’d give you the shirt off her back,” she said. “They said my kid did it, but I can’t wrap my head around it cause that’s my baby. But I grieve for the lady and her baby.”
Authorities said McClain killed Golden because she wanted a baby. Officials in Montgomery County say Verna McClain, 30, told her fiance’ she was pregnant with his child. They planned to marry in May, officials said at a Wednesday news conference. Authorities say after she had a miscarriage, McClain hatched a plot to steal another baby so her fiance’ wouldn’t know about the miscarriage. She allegedly killed Kala Golden and abducted her baby, Keegan, from outside a pediatrician’s office in The Woodlands area. Keegan was found unharmed hours later with McClain’s sister. McClain, 30, is a licensed vocational nurse who has three children. She is estranged from the children’s father, who lives in California. She works for a Harris County staffing agency that hires nurses. McClain grew up in California and moved to Houston in 2008.
Kala Golden’s family said she lived for her kids and died trying to defend her newborn son. “My daughter was brutally murdered protecting her baby,” said Linda Golden. Witnesses said Kala argued with the kidnapper and was shot several times, but still she tried to get her baby out of the attacker’s car. The driver ran over her while getting away, police said. The mother’s husband of three years said if the suspect, Verna McClain, did this allegedly because of a miscarriage, then Kala knew all about that kind of heartbreak. “My wife, herself, she’s had you know miscarriages, She didn’t run off and go [take] someone else’s baby, take someone’s life, you know,” said Keith Schuchardt.
Kala Golden had a son from a previous union, a toddler with Keith Schuchardt and then came their newborn baby boy. A family friend said Kala Golden was Keith Schuchardt’s rock. “He was a wild kid, but he’s really, I’m very proud of him. He’s done very well the last few years,” said Dean Burrell. “He’s holding up remarkably well. He knows he’s a dad, and he’s got to continue to be a dad and he’s basically all they have left.” Now Schuchardt is left planning his wife’s funeral. “I love you. I wish you were here to help me through this,” he said about this wife.
After McClain suffered a miscarriage, investigators said she decided to find another child and convince her fiancé it was his. “She needed to justify having a child to her [fiancé],” Capt. Bruce Zenor with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said. “And she had led him to believe that she was pregnant and had a child, so she needed a child. She needed to produce a child.”
Deputies found McClain and her vehicle at an apartment complex off Sawmill Road, where she reportedly confessed to the crime and told them where the baby was. Texas Rangers found Baby Keegan unharmed around 8:15 p.m., with McClain’s sister at a home off FM 1960. Investigators said McClain presented Keegan to her family as a baby she intended to adopt. Apparently, McClain did not tell her fiance when she suffered a recent miscarriage, so she wanted to get a baby and present it to her fiance as his child, investigators said.
The crime left Houston-area residents stunned and looking for answers. Neighbors who live near the home where the child was found said they knew something was suspicious when Texas Rangers showed up Tuesday night. “I see a baby, and I was actually in the house on the Internet and had actually seen the Amber Alert about the kidnapping. And I see the baby, and the Texas Rangers put the baby in the back of the ambulance, and I sort of pieced it together,” Frank Johnson said. Johnson described the scene as surreal. “I’m thinking, this is crazy. I’m thinking, this doesn’t really happen every day in the city. I mean, you hear about a lot of shootings and other types of crime, but somebody kidnaps a baby, 3 days old, and the mother to be shot? I mean, that’s serious stuff – that’s really scary,” Johnson said.
Child abduction in America is rare, with just 263 cases recorded between 1983 and 2009. Cathy Nahirny of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) says perpetrators pretend to be pregnant and are willing to go to extreme lengths to stop their secrets being exposed, Nahirny says. “She is a woman who gets through life using lies and manipulation. Her relationship with her partner may be falling apart. She thinks that if she tells him she’s pregnant with his child he’ll stay. They want to hold on to their partner, they may not be able to conceive naturally and many of them will fake a pregnancy.” Unbelievably, some women manage to convince everyone they are pregnant for months. “It may be that the abductor has been faking a pregnancy for some time and has run out of options,” says Nahirny.