A woman arrested in Lexington after allegedly abducting her granddaughter in Los Angeles will fight extradition to California, her attorney says.
Maria DeJesus-Baltierra, 62, who appeared in Fayette District Court Wednesday, pleaded not guilty to local charges of custodial interference and endangering the welfare of a minor in connection with the same case.
Her attorney, Public Defender Ben Cabuay Jr., also said Baltierra will not sign a waiver to be extradited to California, where she is wanted on a fugitive warrant from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Fayette District Judge Julie Goodman scheduled a hearing in district court for Tuesday on both the criminal charges and the extradition.
University of Kentucky police arrested and charged Baltierra on Dec. 28 after she was seen on campus with a small child who was not properly dressed for the cold weather. An investigation confirmed that the child, 17-month-old Alouette Day-Moreno-Baltierra, had been abducted in Los Angeles on Oct. 15. Baltierra is being held at the Fayette County Detention Center. Her grandchild is in the custody of Kentucky Child Protective Services.
At the time of her arrest, Baltierra stated that she was seeking a job as a medical doctor.
During Wednesday's court appearance, Baltierra referred to herself as "Dr. Baltierra." She told the court that she needed to have her bond reduced so that she could be released from jail in order to practice. She also indicated she wants to take an Advanced Cardiac Life Support certification test for health providers.
However, no one named Maria Baltierra has had an active medical license in Kentucky since 2003, according to the website of the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure.
After Wednesday's hearing in Fayette District Court, Cabuay declined to answer questions as to whether Baltierra is a practicing physician and other details of the case. He cited attorney-client confidentiality.
Cabuay stressed, however, that Baltierra will fight the case against her "in its entirety."
"Everything will come out in court," he said. "The case is still being investigated. We intend to fully fight this ... she does believe that she is innocent."
Goodman declined Baltierra's request to reduce her bond, which was $22,000. The judge approved Baltierra's request to make three phone calls.