Amanda Howard, 18, found herself pregnant, single and unemployed and not knowing where to turn to next when Lauren Gash, 20, from Missouri and Alisa Betts of Atchison, Kansas lured her from her home by promising to take her to get some baby clothes for her unborn child. They went to a hotel room in Blue Springs where Gash bound and gagged Howard. Howard feels like the two women were planning to kill her.

Gash pleaded guilty, at a hearing Friday, of kidnapping, assaulting and restraining Howard inside the hotel room one year ago. She says she met Amanda Howard online on the social networking web site, MySpace. They kidnapped her with plans to steal her unborn child so Gash could raise the child as her own. Alisa Betts has been charged with kidnapping, assault and felonious restraint.

While searching the hotel room, investigators found scissors, a drop cloth draped over a bed and a multipurpose fishing tool. Prosecutor Traci Stansell told Jackson County Circuit Court Judge W. Stephen Nixon that it was basically a fish gutting kit, leading them to believe that the plan was to cut the baby out of the mother.

Before anything was done to the baby Betts apparently got scared and left the hotel room and then called the police. When the police got to the hotel they thought they were just responding to a distressed pregnant woman. They found Howard with the duct tape around her neck and in her hair.

Howard delivered a healthy baby boy two days after the attack.

Jan Barrett

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