On Monday, a newborn baby was abandoned at a church by being placed in it’s nativity scene. Shockingly, the baby still had its umbilical attached when a custodian for the church found him after returning from a break. Today, a surveillance video from a 99 cent store could lead to locating the mother of the baby boy.
The baby is said to have barely been 5-hours-old when the woman abandoned him in the church. It was reported that a woman was captured on tape entering the church with the baby boy wrapped up in some towels, she is suspected to be the baby’s mother. She was later captured leaving the church without her previous bundle. The police have not released the video of the baby’s deposit amongst the the Biblical statues the nativity scene.
That was not the first time she was captured on video that night, though. A 99 cent store about two blocks away from where the child was left at Holy Child Jesus Church in Richmond Hills, Queens, also captured the woman on video and now police have more clues to help track down the mother.
The worker at the store said he was not even aware the woman on the surveillance camera had a baby at first since it never made a sound. It was another customer who inquired and was told yes. He added that the woman appeared to be in her 20’s.
Under the state’s Safe Haven law, parents who abandon their babies within 30 days of birth at safe locations, for example a church or a hospital, would not be prosecuted. However, someone must be present to accept or attend to the child. The mother is being sought by the police because the maintenance worker who found the baby at around 1 p.m. said that when he left late morning the church left.
A local school nurse was rung when the baby was discovered and as they waited on emergency services, she was the one who tied off the umbilical cord. Geraldine Walsh speculates that the mother must have just clipped it, blood was reportedly everywhere. The baby was taken to Jamaica Hospital and is now in good health.
In the surveillance video, the woman believed to be the baby boy’s mother is seeing holding something bundled up in a black jacket while buying some products from the store. The baby was said to have been “swaddled” in some towels when found in the manger and People suggests that the woman in the surveillance video looks to be buying those same towels at the store. After making her purchase the woman left the store with a bag in hand.
The pastor for the church, Father Christopher Ryan Heanue stated that it is his belief that the mother came into the church to find solace.
“I believe that when this woman came into our church to find refuge, she found in this nativity scene a place for her son a place where he would be safe.”
According to New York Post, the baby has not been officially named, but Heanue as dubbed the baby boy John, after John the Baptist, because he “heralded the coming of Christ,” and the baby was discovered ahead of Christmas.
Reportedly there is much debate about whether or not to charge the mother for child abandonment and reckless endangerment, since technically the baby was inside and safe from the elements.
[Image via Shutterstock]