Trial ruled too tall a task for alleged Atascadero child snatcher

July 17, 2015
Annette Hale

Annette Hale

A woman accused of abducting a 4-year-old boy from an Atascadero homeless shelter will stay in a mental hospital, rather than standing trial for her alleged crimes. [Tribune]

Annette Hale, 56, allegedly kidnapped a then-4-year-old Atascadero boy in August 2011. Police later found the boy after receiving a tip, a call believed to have been made by Hale herself, that he was at a vacant car dealership.

In court, Hale admitted to kidnapping the boy. But, as a defense, Hale said she was a CIA agent who was saving the boy from a woman pretending to be his mother.

On Thursday, a San Luis Obispo judge dismissed the criminal case against Hale. She had faced charges of kidnapping, child stealing and child endangerment under circumstances likely to produce great bodily harm or death.

Hale has received treatment in mental hospitals and has been declared competent to stand trial on multiple occasions. But each time, she again became incompetent upon returning to San Luis Obispo County Jail.

Earlier this year, a state hospital medical director sent a report to the court stating Hale’s competency had not been restored.

California law allows three years for a defendant charged with a felony to become competent to stand trial. Rarely does a defendant not become competent for trial within that period.

Hale is now under the conservatorship of the San Luis Obispo County public guardian’s office. The court has ordered the public guardian to place her in a locked institution for the mentally disabled.

The public guardian can also decide how to handle Hale’s money and medication.

It is unclear how long Hale will remain locked up.



  1. Ted Slanders says:

    The question shouldn’t arise in how long Annette Hale will be locked up, but instead, when will her pending death be accomplished?!

    “Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him when he is caught must be put to death.” (Exodus 21:16)

    (1) 9 Total Votes - 5 up - 4 down
    • jms3211 says:

      “Thou shalt not kill.” (God; The Ten Commandments)

      (-2) 2 Total Votes - 0 up - 2 down
      • Ted Slanders says:


        Listen please, I have had a hard enough time of late in enlightening many of my Christian brethren upon actual scripture relating to Cal Coast New’s stories. The last thing I need is for you to show that the bible contradicts itself, okay?

        Thank you.

        (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  2. Sebastes says:

    About two weeks prior to the abduction, this woman met my 14 yr old blind son as we were volunteering feeding the homeless. So keep going on about how she wanted to take my son. Obviously, that was not going to happen. She seemed to have mental issues and an overblown maternal instinct. I feel sorry for her.

    (-4) 10 Total Votes - 3 up - 7 down
    • indigo1955 says:

      You will get nowhere showing empathy for the mentally ill on this site—so you’d better buck up!

      In reality, I feel sorry for the mentally ill also. Schizophrenia (likely the case here, but at the very least, psychosis) were usually the people in asylums that received the lobotomies, freezing water dips and even electroshock therapy. (Prior to the discovery ECT was best for depression).

      Somehow, these people were let loose in society–but there were not the measures taken to protect them from the public, nor the public from them. Medication for psychotic disorders is such an issue, because in a state of psychosis, you are lucky if you can cross the street safely—much less remember a medication schedule.

      Something terrible has to happen (as it did here) for the authorities to take severe action. There simply are few funds to conduct a conservatorship hearing and then to do long term care also. There are new antipsychotics that are given monthly via injection, but the state needs to fund those better.

      (3) 7 Total Votes - 5 up - 2 down
      • CentralcoastRN says:

        Oftentimes, antipsychotic medications have side effects that mental health patients cannot or will not tolerate. It is so difficult to get mentally ill homeless patients to comply with treatment. When housing is unstable, that makes things all the worse.

        I am glad she will be spending time in a MH facility and not in a prison. Perhaps she will get decent medical care and make a level of progress that is maintainable.

        (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  3. Stunned says:

    So you’re a mental case and you snatch a homeless ladys kid and the case gets dismissed because you act whacko every time your trial date nears?

    (12) 20 Total Votes - 16 up - 4 down
    • smile4thecamera says:

      She sounds smart like a fox to me.

      (12) 18 Total Votes - 15 up - 3 down
    • indigo1955 says:

      What are the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia? No….just joking.

      It is best that you—and the 11 people I see who checked “thumbs up” stay where you are. Now repeat after me: “Would you like to supersize that?”

      Because, this is a truth….some people have no compassion….and are just….stupid (for lack of a better word). But that is okay….I need people like you in case I get a craving for junk food on the way back from testifying in court.

      There will always be a variance in people’s IQ’s and hence, their ability to develop empathy through in-depth understanding of a human condition. The majority of you will never understand the complexities of the legal system nor the diagnostic criteria for the more serious mental illnesses. You are the people that puzzle the more intelligent and educated. For us, interacting with you is like it is for you-when you interact with a potato. Would you expect a potato to seek higher education–to intellectualize–or to express knowledge of the biopsychosocial structure? Of course not.

      (-5) 7 Total Votes - 1 up - 6 down
      • euroamerican says:

        I have plenty of compassion……. for the poor innocent 4 year old that was abducted from his Mother.

        (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down

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