Laura Caballero called herself Sister Mary and passed herself off as a nun. While Ms. Caballero is reportedly the director of St. Filumena Church in Eustis, Florida, The Catholic Diocese of Orlando has said that Ms. Caballero is not a Catholic Sister and St. Filumena is not a church of the Diocese of Orlando.
According to Lake County, Florida Sheriff’s detectives, Ms. Caballero used false pretenses to take two year old Maria Lopez Vasquez away from her parents and then refused to return her. According to the child’s parents, who lived in South Carolina, they lost their second child in childbirth and “Sister Mary” offered to take care of Maria while they grieved and prepared funeral arrangements.
Ms. Caballero was supposed to take the child to a relative’s home, but instead she returned to Florida with the girl. She later offered to give the couple $2,000 to keep the child permanently, and when they refused she threatened to turn them in to United States immigration. Ms. Caballero then travelled to Argentina with the child. When she returned to Miami, she was arrested but the child was not with her.
Federal agents were eventually able to find Maria and return her to her family. Ms. Caballero has been charged with false imprisonment, and more charges may be forthcoming. Police are still unsure of her motive, but are not ruling out child trafficking.
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