Angelique Cruz’s story — Her narrow escape from death

Angelique Cruz

Angelique Cruz is happily married with three children – but her story could’ve been a whole lot different had her former friend, Kassandra Toruga, succeeded in her fetus-stealing scheme. In 2010, Cruz was pregnant, and Toruga convinced her she was also pregnant. Cruz saw Toruga as a kindred spirit with a similar journey to hers. 

However, Cruz was wrong: Toruga faked her pregnancy to get close to Cruz and steal her unborn child. Cruz narrated her ordeal via a six-part video series posted on TikTok in early January 2022. 

She explained how she narrowly escaped death at the hands of a friend and how a controversial television personality worsened her trauma. 

Angelique’s friend carried butcher knives to Cruz’s home, intending to cut her open and take her baby

In January 2022, Angelique Cruz said she felt ready to tell her story and answer questions about her ordeal. “When I was nine months pregnant, a woman came to my house and plotted to kill me and perform a C-section on my body to take my baby,” Cruz said

Cruz explained that she met Toruga via a mutual friend. The pair were seniors in high school and bonded over their teenage pregnancies. 

Angelique said that towards the end of her pregnancy, Toruga arrived at her home, ostensibly to deliver baby gifts. She extended her stay longer than Cruz had expected and began displaying behaviors that made the host suspicious.

Before presenting the ‘gifts’ she’d brought, Kassandra asked Cruz to close her eyes. Cruz continued:

“She said she had gifts she wanted to give me. So we went into a room, my room. She had me turn around, close my eyes, and told me to count to 3. And right before she got to 3, I had a really really strong feeling that something was going to happen to me.”

Cruz opened her eyes, startling Toruga, who quickly put back whatever was in her hands in her bag. Angelique felt unsafe, but she resolved to wait for her mom’s return in 30 minutes. 

Claiming that her water had broken, Kassandra asked for dry clothes. Cruz led her to the bedroom, where she used a candle to start a fire. Angelique told 7 News that Kassandra did not attempt to put out the flames. 

Kassandra Toruga | Pinal County Sheriff’s Office

After emergency services arrived, they asked for Kassandra’s maternity bag so they could take her to the hospital. Cruz hoped that her instincts were wrong, but the bag’s contents proved that she’d narrowly escaped a disaster – the bag had two butchers’ knives, a pair of scissors, diapers, and baby clothes. 

“I just started screaming: ‘I told you she was going to stab me,’” Angelique said. 

Cruz said that Kassandra expressed no remorse during her sentencing

“You think you can hurt me?” Angelique wrote on TikTok. “I cried like this when I pulled the butcher knives out of my friend’s bag in front of the police. She was going to use them on me to cut the baby from my stomach when I was 9 months pregnant.”

Police arrested Kassandra, and she confessed to planning to murder Cruz and kidnap her unborn child. Weeks later, Angelique delivered a healthy baby boy. 

A year later, prosecutors told Cruz that a procedural error during Kassandra’s confession diminished the likelihood of a successful trial. Therefore, Angelique agreed to a plea agreement that sent Toruga to a mental institution for seven and a half years. 

Cruz said that Kassandra showed no remorse: “I got to the sentencing. I speak. I had a long letter that I wrote that I said to her in court and she just stared at me, no remorse.”

Cruz sought help from Dr. Phil but ended up being traumatized further

Angelique decided to appear on Dr. Phil to heal from her trauma and spread awareness about her ordeal. Cruz said:

“I was asked to come on the show to spread awareness, let other mothers know that things like this happen … None of this was ever discussed. I was told I would be able to tell my story & that’s it.”

Angelique Cruz
Angelique Cruz during an interview with Dr. Phil on Feb 8, 2013 | Dr. Phil/Youtube

However, instead of being empathetic, Dr. Phil blamed Cruz for ignoring the warning signs. Cruz said she was taken aback by Dr. Phil’s attitude towards her ordeal. She said:

“I’m so annoyed [and] embarrassed at this point… you’ll hear me laugh but I can promise you that laugh is out of anger because all I want to do is scream but I’m on national television so I can’t.”

Cruz said she defended herself, but that portion didn’t make the final edit. “All Dr. Phil did was make me feel more alone than I have ever felt before… my PTSD suffered more after this,” Cruz said. 

Fetus abduction schemes are rare, occasionally happening in the United States

Fetus abductions happen far less frequently than infant abductions. A testament to the rarity of fetus abduction cases is that most prosecutors never encounter such cases. 

Nevertheless, many expectant mothers fear that someone will steal their unborn baby. Some commenters under Angelique’s post stated that they feared being cut open in the past.

A bizarre fetus abduction case unfolded in Boulder, Colorado, in March 2015. Dynel Lane lured Michelle Wilkins, a woman in the third trimester of her pregnancy, into her house using a craigslist ad. 

Lane attacked Michelle, hitting her head with a lava lamp and stabbing her in the neck with broken glass. She then cut the baby out, leaving Wilkins for dead.  

Dynel had informed her husband that she was pregnant; when he arrived home, she told her that she’d miscarried the baby. However, she had no signs of having recently given birth. 

“Dynel admitted to Detective Stacey Graham that she cut abdomen open to remove [the victim’s baby],” the police report read

Prosecutors didn’t charge Dynel with the murder in the baby’s death due to Colorado law. Nevertheless, the court found Lane guilty of attempted first-degree murder, unlawful termination of a pregnancy, two counts of second-degree assault, and two counts of first-degree assault. 

Chief District Judge Maria Berkenkotter sentenced Dynel to 100 years. Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett said: “I’ve never seen a case as vicious, as cruel, as deliberate and awful as this. People are capable of doing horrible things.”