Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Baby's Kidnapper Gets 18-Year Term; Dad Can Tell Him Later; for Now, a Happy Ending

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Baby's Kidnapper Gets 18-Year Term; Dad Can Tell Him Later; for Now, a Happy Ending

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID HUNT

Years from now, Melvin Duclos will learn about the frenzied search that ensued when a Jacksonville woman posing as a child welfare agent snatched him away after stalking his parents.

He'll hear about how investigators, fearing the worst, rummaged through trash bins and combed a landfill looking for his then 3-week-old body. He'll hear about how his kidnapper was in her late teens and faked at least one of the four pregnancies she'd reported to friends and family since 2006 - the one where she claimed she gave birth to Duclos while out of town.

The now-10-month-old's father, Augustin Duclos, said outside Circuit Judge Mark Mahon's courtroom that one day he'll give his son any detail he wants to know about the early March abduction. For now, the elder Duclos said he cherishes every time he hears the infant utter "Dada."

"I think if I didn't have my son, how would I live?" Duclos said.

The kidnapper, 19-year-old Jasmine Marie White, was sentenced Friday to 18 years in prison to be followed by 10 years of probation. She faced a maximum of 40 years.

"I want you to know how sorry I am for all the trouble I caused," White told the judge. "I'm not a bad person. ... I made a mistake."

White sobbed while asking Mahon for probation only. As the bailiffs led her out of the courtroom, White bawled. Her screams echoed through a back hallway.

Augustin Duclos dismissed the crying as an act. He said White only felt bad because she got caught. He said he would have liked a tougher sentence.

"I'm still scared," Duclos said. "After she comes out, what else will she do?"

Prosecutor John Rockwell argued that White preyed on the Duclos family because they are Haitian immigrants who didn't have strong English language skills. Security footage obtained during the investigation shows White followed the Ducloses to Shands Jacksonville hospital, a grocery store and a family clinic before she showed up at the couple's doorstep with a fake badge and an even faker story about being from the Florida Department of Children & Families.

White said she was there to investigate child abuse. …

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