BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — When asked who owned the car she allegedly stole with a 2-year-old in the backseat, Melissa Peterson said, “It’s spider webs,” according to court documents.
When asked her name, Peterson responded, “DEA 123,” the documents say. And when asked where she was headed, she told deputies “the department of federal buildings” to get help for the the child, who she claimed she was trying to protect.
Peterson, 31, gave a number of bizarre answers, and court records show she had a competency hearing scheduled Monday on charges of kidnapping and child cruelty stemming from her Oct. 27 arrest.
Peterson was on probation for possession of a stolen vehicle and trespassing convictions at the time of her arrest, court records show.
The child’s mother, whose name is redacted from Kern County Sheriff’s Office reports filed in Superior Court, told deputies she parked her black Nissan Sentra at Habbibi Smoke Shop and left her child in the car while she went inside.
Shortly afterward, a transient came in the shop and said her car had been stolen.
The mother told deputies she locked her car but there are issues with the driver side door locking mechanism. She said the car has a smart key system that turns it off when she gets far enough away but she must have been close enough that it remained on.
The theft occurred at about 12:12 p.m. Minutes later, a man called reporting a woman had pulled up and asked him to take her child.
At South Fairfax and DiGiorgio Roads, deputies found the Sentra with a child sleeping in the backseat and two men standing near a woman, the documents say.
Deputies detained the woman and identified her as Peterson through fingerprint records, the documents say.
While Peterson was questioned, the man who called law enforcement told a deputy he was standing outside his truck talking with another man when the Sentra pulled up and Peterson asked him to care of the child.
He asked the child’s name and Peterson said, “It’s 123456 ABC,” the man said according to the documents.
He then called 911.