A newborn baby was found alive outside an apartment door in Orlando on Saturday morning, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Clive Petgrave, a resident of Willow Key apartments, was awoken by police who found the one-day-old baby boy wrapped in a t-shirt on his front door. They were handing out fliers and asking him and other residents if they had seen anyone pregnant recently. The baby appeared to be in good health but was immediately taken to a local hospital.
“I was surprised, because, you know, something happened right at my door,” Petgrave said to the Sentinel. He did not see the baby, as police had removed him by the time he spoke with them. A neighbor had heard the infant crying and had called 911.
Attached to the newborn was a heartbreaking note. “I had him in the bathroom,” said the torn scrap of paper in part, according to KCCI. “His dad tried to kill us. Please keep him secret and take him to hospital. Dad a very dangerous man. I’m so sorry, I tried to clean him and feed him as much as I (could.)”
According to Orlando Sentinel, police are investigating the incident, which was reported to the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Florida’s Safe Haven Law allows anyone to leave a child up to 7 days old with a person at a hospital, fire station, or emergency medical station. Under Florida’s law, the parent has the right to anonymity and cannot be prosecuted for child abandonment, provided there is no evidence of abuse or neglect of the child. Safe Haven laws, which vary by state, can be a last-ditch effort for parents to give a child they cannot care for a safe place to live — and an alternative to mothers in desperation abandoning children to unsafe conditions. Since the law was passed in 2000, 310 babies have been safely surrendered, while 63 have been abandoned illegally, former Oviedo fire Chief Lars White said to Metro.
In this case, the mother, clearly afraid for her and her baby’s safety, was unable to surrender the baby through the proper channels, which unfortunately could leave her vulnerable to prosecution if she is identified.
In October of 2017, a similar incident occurred at the same apartment complex in Orlando, where a baby was left outside a resident’s door with a note asking whoever found the baby to take her to a fire station. According to police, the child was clothed and in good health. It’s not known if her parents were ever found.
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