A FORMER model who abducted a baby by posing as a film casting director and luring the tot with a fake listing on Craigslist is now a mother herself living in New York City.
Michelle Gopaul, 35, claims that she stole the one-month-old girl because she had told her ex-boyfriend that she was pregnant and felt the need to produce an infant.
She posted an ad for an “Indian Baby” to star in a fictitious Bollywood film and abducted the baby who showed up for the fake audition in Toronto, Canada.
Gopaul, from Queens, New York, blames her actions on a mental health crisis and claimed that she felt immediate remorse and turned the baby into the police later that night.
She was jailed for two and half years for child abduction and later appeared on an MTV reality show about young people grappling with their worst decisions.
Gopaul, an aspiring singer, lives with her husband, Timothy Maisonneuve, 34, and their daughter Heaven, four, and her stepdaughters London, eight, and Italy, eight, in Queens.
CAN'T FIX 'WHAT HAPPENED'
She says she has moved on from her shocking crime after her release from prison in 2013.
"Of course I feel remorse.
"I've apologized, but it's not enough to fix what happened.
"I try not to dwell on it."
Gopaul says she's an entirely different person now, and that as a mother she constantly worries about her own daughter's safety.
"When I used to go food shopping, I always make sure my friend watches her closely because I never know if someone might take her."
Gopaul initially lied about being pregnant in April 2010 as a way to get back at her boyfriend’s friends who she believed were trying to break up the relationship.
The lie spiraled into an elaborate story with Gopaul posting a sonogram on her Facebook account.
“I lied about being pregnant as a prank to get back at my boyfriend’s friends for always trying to spread rumors about us.
“They were always trying to break us up.
“We eventually broke up in June of 2010, but once I made a second post on Facebook saying I’d had the baby, he saw that and he kept texting me.
“I was trying to organize it so that I would have a baby to show him so he’d leave me alone.
“I only wanted the baby for a few minutes, I didn’t want to do any type of kidnapping.
“As soon as I took the child I wanted to give her back, but there was so much fear.
“I had a bad breakdown because I felt really guilty."
“I turned the baby into the police that night, but I lost my passport, so I couldn’t leave the country.
“I turned myself into the Toronto police the next day, which is why I got such a light sentence.”
Gopaul was sentenced to two and a half years in prison on April 1 2011 after being remanded for three months in protective custody.
IMPRISONED WITH MURDERERS
“They put me into a special cell.
“I was by myself at first, but they were running out of space and put another girl in the cell with me.
“All of my cellmates were in protective custody too, but some of them had crazy charges.
“One was a child predator and another had killed their child.
“It was very scary.
“Later I stayed with a whole bunch of murderers, and people were trying to beat me up because I was in the news.”
MTV REALITY SHOW
When Gopaul left prison, she returned to Hollis, Queens, where she had grown up and tried to restore her reputation.
“When I came back home, in late 2013, it was all about reestablishing character.
“I forgot what it was like in the outside world and it took a bit of relearning.”
After working as a bartender, Gopaul appeared in MTV’s One Bad Choice, a reality show about young people grappling with their worst decisions.
“I turned them down at first.
“I didn’t want to talk about my crime.
“They said I was number one on their roster and said they’d get me more pay, but I only took the deal when they agreed to play my music video during the episode.
MUSIC CAREER THEN MARRIAGE
“After my MTV appearance, I joined the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and started working on my music.
“I eventually put out an album in 2014 after working with a producer I know.”
Gopaul met her husband Tim in May 2015 and the pair became engaged just two months later.
“It was really quick.
“I felt like I was in a Disney movie.
BECOMING A REAL MOM
“On July 29th, 2017, my daughter was born.
“She starts pre-k in the fall.”
Now that her daughter is getting ready to start school, Gopaul is writing music again and she says she has finally put her shocking crime behind her.
“I want to get back into music.
“I only stopped when I got married."
Gopaul is committed to living her life free of criminal activities and, because of her daughter, doesn't intend to squander this second chance.
"I just want to move forward.
"I had innocent people get involved with my crime though, and I can’t take it back.
"It’s something I’m going to be judged for forever."