Derek Harbiston partied with his friends during the weekend until they were nowhere to be found.
A search for one friend at his Metairie home was fruitless.
But the friend’s daughter was there, and for some reason the 25-year-old New Orleans man took the 1-year-old girl, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said.
Authorities later arrested Harbiston and booked him with kidnapping.
Deputies were called at about 5 a.m. Sunday to a home in the 1800 block of Pomona Street after the girl’s father, Joseph Cordova, reported her missing, said Col. John Fortunato, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
Cordova told deputies he had left the girl in the care of his stepfather while he went out with friends. When he returned home at about 5 a.m., he said, he found his front door forced open and the girl gone from her crib.
Cordova told deputies the baby was there when his stepfather checked on her at about 3 a.m.
A black fedora hat was found in the girl’s crib.
Cordova said it was the hat Harbiston had been wearing when Cordova picked him up earlier to go out drinking.
Cordova told investigators that he and Harbiston went their separate ways at about 11 p.m. Saturday because Harbiston had become too drunk, Fortunato said.
As deputies began their search for Harbiston, he called Cordova on his cellphone and said he had the girl at his home on Jena Street in New Orleans.
Sheriff’s Office personnel, along with members of the New Orleans Police Department, found the girl inside the home. Paramedics took her to Children’s Hospital for a medical evaluation.
She was found to be unharmed, Fortunato said.
Harbiston told detectives he had gone to Cordova’s home in an effort to find his friend.
He said that as he stood outside the home he heard the girl cry, opened the door and took her from the crib.
Harbiston was booked with one count of simple kidnapping. He remained behind bars Monday, according to jail records. No bond was set.
He has previous arrests for simple burglary and unauthorized entry into an inhabited dwelling, Fortunato said.