A newborn baby girl is safe after being found abandoned in the middle of a Madera, California, road in the early morning by a newspaper carrier.
The newspaper carrier, Aurelio Fuentes, told KCRA News that at about 4 a.m. he saw what he thought was an animal in the road, and slowed down. That’s when he heard the baby crying. He brought her into his vehicle to warm her up, as the temperature was below freezing, and she was wearing only a onesie. Then he called 911.
A California Highway Patrol officer from Central Division’s SAFE and Madera Area arrived and wrapped the baby girl in a blanket before taking her to Valley Children’s Hospital, where she is said to be doing fine.
While police haven’t been able to identify the person who abandoned the newborn, a man told police that he was walking his dog just minutes before Fuentes found the baby when a woman approached him. She asked him for help, and to take her baby. He told her that there was a fire station nearby that would take the newborn. For unknown reasons, she left the baby girl in the middle of the road instead.
California’s Safely Surrendered Baby Law allows parents or legal guardians to surrender an infant within 72 hours of birth, no questions asked, at specific locations, including hospital and fire stations. Those who do so will not be charged with abandonment.
California’s law to protect newborn babies from abandonment and death has been in place since January of 2001, and was signed into law in January of 2006. Between 2001 and 2017, 931 newborns have been surrendered in California.
Each state has enacted similar Safe Haven laws, which allow parents to surrender their infants safely and legally. Parents do not need to leave their name or contact information, and are able to walk away without question. In some states, it is even possible for a pregnant woman to contact Safe Haven (888-510-BABY) before giving birth to let them know that she wants to hand over her baby when the child is born.