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It sounds like a tale adoptive parents tell around a campfire to scare each other sleepless: A doctor, distraught over his failed marriage and custody fight, holds a baby hostage until the would-be new parents promise to return the kid to its birth mother.
Yet that's exactly what happened in real life, at least according to a lawsuit filed last month in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. A couple from Virginia says Felipe Caballero, a doctor at Hialeah Hospital, put them through months of torment. "[The couple] was at the culmination of a lengthy... and expensive process achieving their family goal of having a child, only to be victimized," they wrote in the complaint.
Hialeah Hospital declined to comment about the charge, saying Caballero is an "independent contractor."
"The hospital was not involved in the adoption process," the hospital said in a statement. Caballero didn't respond to multiple messages left with Kidz Medical Services, a Coral Gables-based pediatric firm that employs him.
Nicole and Bienvenido Olivencia were approved to adopt a girl born August 7, 2009, at the hospital.
The trouble began when they flew to town two days later, after Caballero examined the girl. When the couple and a social worker went to the nursery, the lawsuit says, they discovered Caballero had "wrongfully taken" the infant to another room.
There they found the doc, creepily rocking the baby with the lights off. Caballero then allegedly yelled at the couple to "answer his questions." He demanded they buy a plane ticket for the baby's birth mother to visit, and to give up the child when she turned 5. Even after they got their daughter away from him, Caballero visited the birth mom to "slander" them, the Olivencias claim.
The reason: According to the suit, Caballero complained that a "stupid woman" had divorced him and taken custody of his child.
The Olivencias want punitive damages and compensation for "emotional distress" from the doctor and the hospital. Through their attorney, Richard Katz, they declined to talk about the lawsuit.