Wife of Pirates’ player implicated in infant abduction

In one of the more bizarre stories of the week, Pirates’ 20-year old outfielder Jose Tabata’s wife was questioned Tuesday on charges of taking an infant and could be charged with false imprisonment.

Amalia Tabata Pereira, 43, allegedly abducted the infant Monday afternoon and reportedly turned the child in to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday afternoon. The girl is safe, police said.

“I was shocked to be told today that my wife has been arrested for kidnapping,” Tabata said in a statement. “I am hurt, frustrated and confused by her actions. I have and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement officials in any way that I can. Until I have all of the facts, I cannot comment any further.”

The suspect married the 20-year-old Pirates Minor League outfielder in January 2008, according to Hillsborough County records. Tabata came to the Pirates last summer from the Yankees in the Xavier Nady trade. He is currently in Minor League camp in Bradenton, Fla.

The baby, Sandra Cruz-Francisco, was taken from her mother, Rosa Sirilo-Francisco, at about 3 p.m. on Monday by a woman her family simply knew as “Janet,” Plant City police told The AP.

According to the Tampa Tribune, Sirilo-Francisco took the baby to the Plant City Health Department for a checkup and met “Janet,” who claimed to be an immigration official and told the mother that immigration officers were waiting at her home to deport her and the baby’s father to Mexico. “Janet” said she would help the parents, but she needed to take the baby.

The Tribune reports that the two women then drove the baby to a farm where the baby’s father works, where “Janet” relayed the same story to him. Soon after, the mother gave “Janet” the baby. This story has yet to be confirmed by Plant City police, according to The AP.

This is one hell of a story and while I have many questions, my first is – what is a 20-year old doing marrying a 43-year old? Freaking strange.

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