The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

AP story section

April 18, 2012

Texas nurse admits to shooting mom, abducting baby

SPRING, Texas — A nurse has admitted to fatally shooting a young mother in a town near Houston and abducting the dying woman's newborn son whom she apparently intended to adopt, authorities said Wednesday.

Verna McClain is charged with capital murder in the killing of 28-year-old Kala Marie Golden.

Witnesses saw a woman repeatedly shoot Golden on Tuesday afternoon in the parking lot of a pediatric clinic in Spring.

She then drove away with Golden's 3-day-old son Keegan who was found Tuesday evening, unharmed, at a home with McClain's sister, authorities said.

According to a Montgomery County arrest record, McClain, 30, admitted to shooting Golden and taking Keegan to Harris County, where the baby was subsequently found. Houston is in Harris County and McClain listed an address in the city as her home, according to jail records.

McClain gave authorities information that only the shooter would know, according to the arrest record.

She is being held without bail.

The Montgomery County Sheriff's office said in a statement that officers found Keegan with Corina Jackson, McClain's sister. Jackson told investigators that McClain told her she would need to "do the adoption," according to the county record.

Witnesses say an argument broke out between Golden and another woman on Tuesday afternoon as Golden left Northwoods Pediatric Center in Spring, about 20 miles north of Houston.

The woman repeatedly shot Golden then snatched Keegan from her and began to drive away in a blue or light green Lexus, according to witness accounts. The dying woman leaned into the vehicle and tried to take Keegan back, screaming "My baby!" but her attacker sped away.

Phil Grant, the first assistant district attorney in Montgomery County, told The Associated Press that the shooting appeared to be random, but declined to comment further.

Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon told ABC's "Good Morning America" that McClain's statement to investigators indicates she shot the mother as part of a wider plan to kidnap any child and that Golden was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"There were statements as indicated in the arrest record that were made by Ms. McClain that led us to believe that, in fact, this was an intentional act on her part," Ligon said. "Not that Ms. Golden was targeted specifically, but that this was part of a plan to kidnap a child."

He made no mention of a man whom witnesses said they saw in the blood-splattered Lexus. The sheriff's office said authorities do not believe a second suspect is at large.

Ligon said Child Protective Service officials were looking after Keegan but that they expected the baby to soon be reunited with his father.

Keegan's father, Keith Schuchardt, told the Houston Chronicle that he and Golden had been married for three years. Schuchardt said he learned of the shooting because as Golden lay dying she asked another woman to call him and tell him what had happened.

"I loved her, and she loved me," Schuchardt told Houston television station KHOU. "Everything was going fine until today."

On Tuesday evening, officers with guns and riot shields raided an apartment near the clinic after a detective noticed a parked vehicle that matched witness descriptions of the Lexus, according to the sheriff's office.

McClain, a vocational nurse, is not employed by the Northwoods Pediatrics Center, according to a receptionist at the clinic, Jackie Longoria.

Golden's mother, Linda Golden, told the AP that she had been baby-sitting another of Kala's sons when someone at the scene called her using her daughter's cellphone. She rushed to the clinic but was unable to see her daughter because paramedics were trying to save her.

"I wanted to kiss her before they put her in the ambulance," Linda Golden said.

Linda Golden said she had no idea what could have sparked the slaying and abduction.

"That's the hardest she's ever fought," Linda Golden said. "She died trying to save her baby."

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