LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A newborn was found in the grass near a parking lot of a Lake Charles hospital Tuesday night.
The baby girl was found by a woman coming out of the hospital around 8:30 p.m., Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso said. He said based on surveillance video from the area, it’s believed the newborn had been left about 15 minutes prior.
The woman was getting in her car to leave the hospital when she heard crying and found the baby naked, approximately 50 yards from the front door of the hospital, according to Kim Myers, Sheriff’s Office spokesperson.
Mancuso said the baby is a “beautiful child and seems to be in good health now.”
Mancuso is asking the public for help identifying the person who left the baby. The person could be facing child abandonment and possibly other criminal counts.
The only description law enforcement have of the person is someone who was pregnant yesterday and isn’t today, Mancuso said. He also said the baby is African-American.
He urged the person who left the child to turn themselves in, saying that if they did so now, the courts may be more lenient.
Myers asked any with information about who the newborn’s mother may be to call the Sheriff’s Office at 491-3605.
While there is a safe haven law in which parents can give up newborns up to 60 days old at a hospital, fire department or police department, the baby must be turned over to an employee.
Mancuso said that in this case, the person’s intentions “were probably appropriate and they just didn’t follow through.“
"This would have been very simple last night, 50 yards more and hand the baby off.”
If a parent is unable to get to a hospital, fire department or police department, they may call 911 and law enforcement will pick up the infant.
Mancuso urged others considering giving up newborns, to follow the safe haven laws. The law allows for parents to turn over the babies with no questions asked, he said.
“That’s what this law is for, so instances like this don’t happen,” Mancuso said.
Myers said once the baby leaves the hospital, she will be placed in the custody of the Deptartment of Children and Family Services, who will find a family to care for her.
Louisiana’s Safe Haven law, which states that parents who are unable to care for a child, and the child’s well-being is in danger, can bring a newborn (up to 60 days old) to an emergency designated facility or Safe Haven site.
For more about Louisiana’s Safe Haven law, click HERE.
Safe Haven locations include:
- Any licensed hospital in the state of Louisiana
- Local or parish public health units
- Licensed rural health clinics
- Licensed ambulatory surgical center
- Federally qualified health centers
- Any manned fire or law enforcement station
- Any child advocacy center during business hours (must be accredited by the National Children’s Alliance)