In February 1988, Cora Abbott, 27, found herself having to return to work after a six weeks maternity leave. she put an ad in the local newspaper advertising for a babysitter’s position in her home. As the grandmother cared for baby Rachael, a young woman, 38 year old Maritza Rentz, came by to interview for the babysitter’s position. The grandmother was quite impressed with Maritza. she seemed like the perfect choice, but while the grandmother stepped out of the room momentarily, Maritza simply walked out of the house with the child in arms. The grandmother quickly returned, and to her horror, discovered that the 4 week old infant had been kidnapped. On Sunday, February 21, Cora Abbott pleaded for her daughter’s return. no one can love her like we do. I need her back here. she belongs to us, pleaded Abbott.
The Search and Rescue
The neighbors and coworkers couldn’t figure it out. There was something really strange about Maritza and this so called pregnancy. It was obvious that she had been pregnant the previous fall, but no one had noticed her being pregnant within the last few months. but no one said a word. Not one word until the news of Rachael Ann White’s disappearance hit the front pages of the local newspaper and the 6 o’clock news. Then everything clicked, the pregnancy, the strange behavior, and the 4 day old baby, who looked at least a month old. Maritza. It had to be Maritza. after 4 days, the police swarmed the quiet suburban neighborhood and the home of Paul and Maritza Rentz. she was in her vehicle leaving for work when she was quickly taken into custody. The baby was found in the crib unharmed. The FBI checked her naval and found that the umbilical cord had already fallen off indicating the baby to be older than 4days old. A false birth certificate had also been found. It was a happy and tearful reunion as Cora Abbott embraced her beautiful baby girl. Life would be somewhat difficult because Abbott wouldn’t be able to forget the nightmare of having her baby snatched from her own home. how would she ever be able to fully trust anyone or leave her daughter even for a moment ever again?
Maritza Rentz, trying to save her third marriage was desperate to conceive a child to make her happy. when her pregnancy had to be terminated medically she felt that her husband Paul would leave her, so she etched out a plan to take another baby and raise it as her own. she almost backed out of the plan many times, but upon seeing the baby she felt that God wanted her to take the baby. Maritza Rentz was charged with posing as a babysitter and second degree kidnapping. she was held on $8,000 bond. she was ordered to stand trial in April of that same year. she was arrested again a few weeks later for buying an international driver’s license. It appeared that Rentz had plans to leave the country. Her bond was then raised to $200,000. While being held at El Paso County Jail, Rentz tried to commit suicide and was placed in Colorado State Hospital. Rachael Ann White’s grandmother, Evelyn Reed, felt sorry for Rentz, and she asked to see her. she said that she felt that everyone had turned their back on her, even her husband, Air Force Captain, Paul Rentz. So she wanted to tell the lonely woman that she forgives her for what she did. Reed’s daughter, Cora Abbott offered no comment on the matter. in May of 1988, charges were dropped against Paul Rentz. Rentz had been suspected of helping his wife plan the abduction, but they were not able to find sufficient evidence that he had any prior knowledge of the events that took place. On May, 17, Maritza plead guilty by reason of impaired mental condition. Later the same month she was offered a plea bargain which would allow her to plead guilty to two charges, criminal impersonation and second degree kidnapping. in September, 1988, she was given probation instead of jail time and sentenced to one year in a psychiatric hospital in San Antonio, TX, to be near her mother Coralia Beato. in January, 1989, after only 4 months in Villa Maria psychiatric hospital, she was released to a halfway house in San Antonio, Texas. in the meantime, back in Colorado, Cora Abbott and her family were simply terrified. she was unable to work for fear of leaving little Rachael. in January, 1990, she decided to file suit against Maritza Beato. The suit was settled in January of the next year. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Maritza Beato Rentz never once showed an ounce of remorse for her crime.
I had the chance to speak with Cora Abbott about how life has been since the kidnapping. she said that she is doing really well. she is remarried and still living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Her daughter Rachael is all grown up and is in College to be a psychologist. she is almost finished with her studies. after the kidnapping, Cora decided to open a home day care in an effort to keep her children close to her. she has been in business for the past 20 years. she is no longer a part of the organization Families of Missing Children, but she does do a lot of private work. I asked her how close the movie was to real life. she said that there were some differences, notably, the way in which the police were portrayed in a very nonchalant manner. in real life they were ruthless, yet we understood why she says. It was because at the time they had many family members in law enforcement. Cora watches the movie Baby Snatcher occasionally because she has it on tape. ()Paul and Maritza divorced after the incident. but Maritza went on to bigger and better things. she passed away recently. she became an activist, investigative reporter, and editor. she became huge in the Cuban American community in Miami, Florida. she had many enemies because she was very critical and exposed the criminal behavior of several influential people in Miami. she died without anyone knowing who she really was.