Police continue search for abandoned baby's parents

James David Dickson
The Detroit News
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Two days after a newborn baby was found abandoned on a lawn in River Rouge, police are still looking for the public’s help identifying the parents.

The baby still had her umbilical cord and placenta attached when she was found around 8:30 a.m. Sunday outside an adult day care on the 10 block of Alexander, said Sgt. Dasumo Mitchell of the River Rouge Police Department.

A worker at the home was drawn outside by what she believed was a crying cat, but never found the cat. The crying continued, and when the worker went outside again to check, she found the baby on the lawn, near a bush, Mitchell said.

Police believe the baby girl was abandoned less than an hour after being born.

“She had the placenta and umbilical cord still attached,” Mitchell said. “She was wrapped in a blue baby blanket with cars on it.”

A sweep of area hospitals produced nothing. Now police are canvassing the neighborhood, following on up leads and scouring any available security footage that can help them piece together a narrative of how the baby came to be left alone on a lawn.

“They set (the baby) on the lawn, not the porch,” Mitchell said. Even so, the baby does not appear to have any health problems, Mitchell said. “That’s a blessing.”

The baby is being taken care of at Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn.

Since 2001, Michigan has had a Safe Delivery Law, allowing parents to surrender custody of newborns less than 72 hours old, provided they're left in the care of a hospital, a police station, or a fire station, said Erica Quealy, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Babies can also be surrendered to a paramedic who responds to a 911 call. According to statistics last updated July 11, 200 babies had been surrendered in Michigan under the Safe Delivery Law —  the vast majority to hospitals.

Leaving a baby on the lawn of an adult care home does not qualify, Mitchell said.

Quealy explained the drop-off process is anonymous so the parent surrendering the child isn't required to give personal information or sign forms.

"However, statute requires that a reasonable attempt to identify the non-surrendering parent must be made; therefore, the emergency service provider will ask for the identity of the non-surrendering parent at the time of the newborn’s surrender," she said. "The statute further requires that the child-placing agency make a reasonable effort to identify, locate and provide notice of the surrender of the newborn to the non-surrendering parent."

If the name and address of that parent is unknown, she continued, the agency will provide notice of the surrender of the newborn by publication in a newspaper in the county where the newborn was surrendered, she said.

The River Rouge Police Department is located less than one mile from the adult day care. People who have information on the baby’s parents can share what they know with River Rouge police at (313) 842-8700.


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