But after consulting a psychologist, detectives decided not to release the picture, a rear view of the woman who was disguised as a nurse when she persuaded Abbie's father to hand his daughter over for a 'hearing test' at the Queen's Medical Centre on Friday.
As Abbie's parents, Karen, 32, and Roger, 33, prepared to spend their third night waiting for news, police officers said they were hopeful that the baby was being looked after. They are working on the theory that she may have been abducted by a woman who has lost her own baby, and are checking records of recent infant deaths.
Officers are believed to have been concerned about the effect publication of the picture, taken by a hospital security camera, might have on the woman.
The police also decided against publication of a photograph of another woman, caught by the same camera. She was pushing a buggy along the hospital corridor at 3.11pm on Friday. But they appealed to her to come forward.
On Saturday, Mrs Humphries, a nurse who once worked on the ward from where Abbie was taken, seemed near to collapse during an appeal for her return.
Detective Superintendent Harry Shepherd said officers were concentrating on information such as reports of babies heard crying in homes where they would not normally be. He asked the public to be tolerant if they received a visit from the police: 'Please bear with us because any chance of finding Abbie is our first priority and we cannot ignore any calls that might lead us to her.'
Police also want to talk to a man, aged between 25 and 30, seen using a camcorder outside the hospital's main entrance.
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