Reporters have been in a lot of legal hot water of late, with federal prosecutors and judges around the country threatening them and throwing them in jail for refusing to divulge the names of sources, but one journalist was arrested late last month for an entirely different reason.
Cecelia Lynn Coy-Jones, 33, a reporter for NBC affiliate KCBD-TV in Lubbock, Texas, was working undercover to test security at two Amarillo, Texas, hospitals about three weeks after a New Mexico woman was accused of entering a Lubbock hospital wearing hospital scrubs and abducting a newborn by putting it in a large purse she was carrying.
Coy-Jones was dressed similarly and carrying a large red bag when she entered Northwest Texas Healthcare System, Amarillo, on March 28. She was not wearing any hospital identification when she went into the nursery area and began asking questions about child abduction security, Amarillo Police Sgt. Randy TenBrink says.
Her inquiries led quickly to a confrontation with security personnel. Coy-Jones told them she was a reporter from Lubbock, and showed her station ID badge and her business card, TenBrink says. She told security officers she was trying to see how long it would take for them to respond to a suspicious person, he says.
After being booted from that hospital, Coy-Jones showed up about 20 minutes later at Baptist St. Anthonys Health System, within walking distance of Northwest. Security there was even faster in responding, notifying an off-duty police officer that a woman was asking odd questions about security as she stood near a large nursery window where visitors can view newborns, TenBrink says.
The reporter again identified herself and was arrested after police arrived, according to TenBrink.
Dan Jackson, KCBD vice president and general manager, said in a written statement that Coy-Jones was merely checking on security measures at hospitals and maternity wards in the wake of the kidnapping. She fully cooperated with authorities and hospital officials during their investigation. We look forward to resolving this misunderstanding with the Amarillo Police Department as soon as possible.
Coy-Jones was arraigned on two felony counts of attempted aggravated kidnapping and was released from the Potter County Jail after posting a $10,000 bond. The felony case is to be presented to a county grand jury, but it is possible she may only face misdemeanor charges, police say.