Written by DJ Becker/The Madera Tribune
MADERA RANCHOS – A newborn baby girl with her umbilical cord still attached was found at about 4:30 a.m. this morning, abandoned in the middle of Avenue 13 1/2.
Law enforcement is asking for the public’s help in locating the birth mother who left the baby in the middle of the road about halfway between Roads 35 and 36.
According to Madera County Undersheriff Tyson Pogue, a man was walking or jogging eastbound on Avenue 13 1/2 when he was approached by a Hispanic female in her early 20s driving a white, smaller SUV.
“She got out of her car and asked the man if he could help her,” said Pogue. “She asked him to take her child, but he did not want to accept the baby and left the area. The man instead directed her to a safe surrender site – a fire station – or nearby Valley Children’s Hospital down the road, and suggested she take the baby there. The mother was asking for help but was not overly distraught.”
A few minutes later, said Pogue, a newspaper deliveryman noticed something in the middle of the road. He pulled over and was shocked to discover a newborn baby girl on the center line of the roadway. He picked up the baby and called 911, staying on scene until CHP arrived.
The baby was wearing a wet and soiled one-piece jumpsuit, according to witnesses, but appeared to be healthy and had apparently not been out in the near-freezing temperatures for too long.
“The baby appeared to have been born during the night and is now being treated by the Valley Children’s neonatal intensive care unit,” said Pogue.
“It was very fortunate the baby was seen by the newspaper delivery person before she was seriously injured or possibly killed. 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 is facing serious charges. At a minimum she could be charged with felony child endangerment or child endangerment likely to cause great bodily harm or death, even up to and including attempted murder.
Residents in the area told news crews they had seen and reported a suspicious white vehicle in the area with two young people inside, several hours before the infant was discovered.
Pogue said the situation was inexplicable and also noted 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 is very nearby.
If you have any information on this incident, please call the Madera County Sheriff’s Office at 559-675-7770.
Valley Crime Stoppers pays up to $3,000 for anonymous information leading to an arrest and conviction in a crime. Call them at 559-498-STOP or visit their website for more information.