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ALMATY -- A newborn baby has been reported stolen from an Almaty maternity hospital, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Svetlana Shashkova, 33, delivered a healthy boy on November 17 at Maternity House No. 1. On November 20, she was to be released from the maternity hospital with her son, who was named Ratmir.

Shashkova's friend, Anna Shakhvorostova, told RFE/RL that Ratmir disappeared shortly before he and his mother were to leave the hospital. Shashkova was asleep in the hospital room with her son when he disappeared.

The hospital's staff was unable to locate the baby.

Shakhvorostova said Shashkova was still in the maternity hospital and the staff was not allowing her to meet with other people.

Almaty city police spokeswoman Saltanat Azirbek told RFE/RL that an investigation had been launched into the case.

She said that 25 doctors and nurses were in the building when the baby disappeared. All of them are being questioned.

Azirbek added that Shashkova was probably being kept at the hospital due to her current psychological state. She said the police were not keeping Shashkova in the hospital.

In 2008, a nurse in the same hospital stole a newborn baby for her childless sister.

The baby was found after two days and returned to her mother. The nurse was arrested and sentenced for the crime.

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