The mother who left her newborn baby in a manger has been located, but she won’t be criminally prosecuted. She is protected under the Safe Haven law.
A mother, who left her newborn baby boy in a Christmas nativity scene inside a New York City church, will not be charged for abandoning the baby. She won’t face criminal charges, confirmed Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
“After a full review of all the facts and circumstances surrounding the discovery of a newborn infant this past Monday in a crèche inside of Holy Child Jesus Church in the Richmond Hill section of Queens County — including locating and interviewing the mother — my office has determined that no criminal prosecution of the child’s mother is warranted.”
The baby was discovered in the nativity scene inside the church. No one saw who had left the baby there. The custodian of the church had left the empty chapel to get lunch at 11:30 a.m. When he returned shortly after 1 p.m., he heard the cries of the newborn baby. A quick search indicated a baby was left in the manger, reported the Guardian. Though the newborn was cozily wrapped in towels, it still had its umbilical cord attached to it, indicating the mother, apparently desperate to give up the newborn, must have hurriedly left it in the nativity scene and fled. The nativity scene being indoors, there was no danger to the baby catching a cold and ensured it would be discovered and cared for quickly, reasoned Brown.
“It appears that the mother, in this case, felt her newborn child would be found safely in the church and chose to place the baby in the manger because it was the warmest place.”
Though the mother seemingly took utmost precaution at remaining anonymous, surveillance cameras spotted the mother, believed to be a female in her early 20s, with her baby boy wrapped up in some towels. The same cameras later spotted her leaving the church without the baby, confirming the suspicions that she was indeed the woman who lefty her baby in the manger. Incidentally, the same woman was spotted in a 99 cents store two blocks from the church a little while earlier. It is not clear why the female entered the store with a newborn baby. Though police are investigating, some speculate the mother might have been shopping for the towels in which the baby was later found.
The police later followed the clues and were able to track down the mother. However, law enforcement did not take her into custody. Instead, she was interviewed and counseled. New York’s Safe Haven law allows any mother to give up her baby anonymously, reported ABC News. However, the mother must give up the baby only at a church, hospital, police, or fire station. There have been a few prototypes of boxes that cities has been designing to ensure the newborns are kept warm and safe until emergency workers can take over.
Though the Safe Haven law was on the woman’s side, the Abandoned Infant Protection Act mandates that the baby needs to be left with someone and for authorities to be called immediately, reported USA Today. Since there was no one around, the police alerted investigators, who began searching for the mother.
The decision to not prosecute the mother stems from the idea that the “mother followed the spirit of the Safe Haven law,” stated Brown. The mother did not abandon the baby haphazardly, he reasoned.
“It appears that the mother, in this case, felt her newborn child would be found safely in the church and chose to place the baby in the manger because it was the warmest place in the church, and further she returned the following morning to make certain that the baby had been found.”
The baby is a Christmas miracle, stated Fr. Christopher Ryan Heanue, one of the priests at the church, who was one of the first few people who helped the baby survive the first few critical hours while the paramedics arrived.