Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Wife of baseball player wanted to adopt Plant City baby, attorney says

TAMPA — The wife of a minor league baseball player wanted to adopt the baby she is accused of stealing, her attorney said Tuesday.

Amalia Tabata Pereira, 43, has been jailed for two weeks, ever since authorities said she posed as an immigration official and threatened a Mexican mother in Plant City with deportation if she didn't give her 2-month-old girl to Pereira.

Pereira was hoping Tuesday to get her $750,000 bail reduced.

But Assistant State Attorney Jennifer Gabbard said the steep bail was appropriate for the case's "unusual and egregious" set of facts. They include Pereira leaving the county with the baby and telling her 20-year-old husband, Jose Tabata, an outfielder in the Pittsburgh Pirates' farm system, that the child was theirs.

The prosecutor said the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office plans to upgrade a false imprisonment charge against Pereira to kidnapping, a first-degree felony punishable by life in prison.

She also is charged with interference with child custody and impersonating a public officer.

"She took advantage of their immigration status," Gabbard said.

Pereira previously served nearly three years in prison after being convicted on charges including arson, grand theft and filing a false crime report. She was released in 2003.

William Malachowski, an assistant public defender, called the latest allegations inflated.

Pereira, a mother of four, returned the baby to law enforcement a day after her encounter with the child's mother outside the Plant City Health Center. She did so as soon as she learned there was an Amber Alert for the missing child, he said.

Authorities have no proof, he said, that his client impersonated an immigration official.

"Well, what did she do, find the baby on the side of the road?" Hillsborough Judge Walter Heinrich asked.

He denied the motion.

Wife of baseball player wanted to adopt Plant City baby, attorney says 04/07/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 7, 2009 11:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Authorities say cocaine is making comeback in Florida


    FORT LAUDERDALE — Drug enforcement officials say traffickers are bringing more cocaine into South Florida than at any time in the past decade.

    Traffickers are bringing more cocaine into South Florida than at any time in the past decade, officials say.  [Times files]
  2. Amid escalating Russia crisis, Trump considers major staff changes


    President Donald Trump and his advisers, seeking to contain the escalating Russia crisis that threatens to consume his presidency, are considering a retooling of his senior staff and the creation of a "war room" within the White House, according to several aides and outside Trump allies.

    President Donald Trump is reportedly considering a retooling of his senior staff. [Doug Mills/The New York Times]
  3. Karen Lugo, 13, from Tampa, holds up her IPad Mini to take a picture of herself while relaxing in the sand alongside her mother, Karen Castro (on left), at the North Beach area of Fort DeSoto on Memorial Day (05/27/13). Karen comes to the beach with her family for holidays, she said. Also present was her older brother and three cousins.
  4. For starters: Rays at Twins, with Cobb pitching with a purpose


    UPDATE, 12:34: Cash said he has been pleased with Sucre's work and is trying to find playing time for him. ... Cash also said after reading Farquhar's comments about having trouble re-focusing after getting out of a jam and then going back out for a second inning he will factor that in to how he uses him. ... …

  5. To many Americans, Memorial Day has lost its meaning


    ANNVILLE, Pa. — Allison Jaslow heard it more than once as the long holiday weekend approached — a cheerful "Happy Memorial Day!" from oblivious well-wishers.

    Sgt. Heather Lynn Johnsen, of Roseville, Calif., guards the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Friday, March 22, 1996, in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. [Associated Press file]