Courtesy of the California Highway Patrol
A California Highway Patrol officer cradles a new born infant left in freezing temperatures about 4:30 a.m. Monday morning.
A newborn baby girl with her umbilical cord still attached was found about 4:30 a.m. Monday, abandoned in the middle of Avenue 13 1/2, half way between roads 35 and 36, according to the Madera County Sheriff’s Department.
Officers are investigating the incident and are asking for any other information, and/or for the public’s help locating the birth mother who left the baby in the middle of the roadway.
Undersheriff Tyson Pogue said a man was walking or jogging east bound on Avenue 13 1/2 when he was approached by a Hispanic female in her early 20s driving a white, smaller SUV.
“This female got out of her car and asked the man if he could help her. That’s when she asked him to take her child, but he did not want to accept the baby and he left the area. The man (instead) directed her to a safe surrender site — a fire station or nearby Valley Children’s Hospital — down the street and suggested she take the baby there. A few minutes later a newspaper deliveryman, Aurelio Fuentes, noticed something in the middle of the road. He pulled over and was shocked to discover a newborn baby girl on the centerline of the roadway. He picked up the baby and called 911 (and stayed) until CHP arrived.”
The baby was wearing a wet and soiled one-piece jump suit, according to witnesses, but appeared to be healthy and not out in the near freezing temperatures for too long.
The mother was asking for help, but was not overly disdraught, according to Pogue.
“She appeared to have been born during the night and now is being treated by the Valley Children’s neonatal intensive care unit.” he said.
“It was very fortunate the baby was seen by the newspaper delivery person before she was seriously injured or possibly killed,” Pogue said, “she was cold but was found soon enough, likely in only a matter of minutes and is expected to make a full recovery.”
Pogue said the mother was facing serious charges, at a minimum of felony child endangerment, or child endangerment likely to cause great bodily harm or death, up to and including attempted murder.
Residents in the area told news crews they had seen and had reported a suspicious white vehicle with two young people inside, in the area several hours before the infant was found.
Pogue said the situation was inexplicable and also mentioned that any newborn infants can be safely surrendered at any designated “safe surrender site” — a fire station or hospital — without any questions asked or the mother facing any charges. Ironically, there was a staffed fire station within a mile or two, and Valley Children’s Hospital very nearby he said.
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Call the Madera County Sheriff’s Department at 675-7770 with any new information. Valley Crime Stoppers at 498-STOP pays up to $3,000 for anonymous information, either by phone or on their website for information leading to an arrest and a conviction in a crime.