Florida couple charged with kidnapping relative’s 7-month-old baby in Federal Way

Surveillance video shows a Florida couple pretending to be delivering for Amazon allegedly kidnapping a relative’s baby in Federal Way.

That couple is behind bars facing multiple charges including kidnapping and burglary.  And the seven-month-old baby is back safe with her mother.

This all happened at the Mariposa Apartments in Federal Way last Tuesday.

KIRO 7 talked by telephone to the baby’s mother.  She says she isn’t ready to talk with reporters just yet. But she says her baby is doing well.    

However, she is still being treated for the injuries she sustained when they took the child.  According to court documents, this kidnapping was orchestrated by her cousin.

The surveillance video shows the suspect, identified as 42-year-old Chun Ho Vincent Lai getting out of a car at about 9:18 a.m. on the morning of Feb. 20.

A minute later, the passenger door opens and a woman, identified by prosecutors as his wife, 33-year-old Marly Ardila, gets out, too.  Then for several minutes, they appear to look down at the unit where Ardila’s cousin lives with her young family.

They wait 10 minutes then walk away.

According to court documents, the couple walked down to the apartment.  Ardila had told her cousin to expect an Amazon delivery.  When she looked through the peephole, she saw what she believed was an Amazon box.  Then she opened the door, and Lai immediately punched her in the face, and tied her hands with zip ties while Ardila held her from the back.  Then they kidnapped her seven-month-old daughter.

In the surveillance video, you see Lai holding a red bag that they allegedly put the baby in.

“This is a very unusual case,” said Casey McNerthney, King County Prosecutor’s spokesman.  “But when we see cases and allegations like this, we’re going to keep acting on them right away.”

Indeed that is how the Federal Way police responded. They quickly canvassed the neighborhood and found a video.  The FBI was called in. Investigators tracked the couple through the cell phone they stole from Ardila’s cousin. And within three and a half hours the couple was stopped in Eastern Washington on I-90 in Grant County. The child was rescued.

McNerthney says charges were filed two days later.

“This was really the work of Federal Way Police that allowed us to be able to file these charges,” he said.

The couple made it easier to find them.  They were driving their own vehicle with Florida plates.

Federal Way police say their work isn’t done yet. They say the FBI is still investigating, too. So, the couple could face federal charges.

For now, they are being held at the King County Jail on $750,000 bail.  The couple will be arraigned on March 7.