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Newborn left in a box outside home

May 3, 2010 12:19:05 PM PDT
Police are considering charges against a woman who left a newborn inside a box in the backyard of a Carpentersville home. The child was found Saturday and is expected to be OK. The baby may have been left outside in a box for a day, officials said.

The woman found Sunday when paramedics rushed her to the hospital-- just hours after investigators in northwest suburban Carpentersville say she abandoned her newborn baby in a next door neighbor's backyard.

"Through investigation, we've been able to determine who the mother is," said Chief David Neumann, Carpentersville Police Department.

The woman was taken to Sherman Hospital where both she and her child were being treated later Sunday. It is believed they are in good condition.

Meanwhile, a neighborhood remained shocked by the events that unfolded over the last few days.

"Wow, it like happened here. It's just shocking," neighborhood resident Luis Nieves said.

But none of the residents on the 1900-block of Bristol Circle is more stunned than Kathleen Nolan, a long-time homeowner who made the discovery at approximately 2 p.m. Saturday while gardening in her backyard.

"The box was sitting right there by the fence," Nolan said.

Nolan, who has five children and 18 grandchildren, says she first heard what she thought was weeping and went around to investigate, only to find a newborn baby on her side, covered with blankets inside an old diaper box.

"It was a little girl. She still had the umbilical cord on. She had to be maybe a day old," Nolan said.

Nolan then alerted her neighbor, Frank Quitter, who called 911. He said he first noticed the box by his garage sometime Friday and was surprised to learn a baby survived inside.

"It was amazing Friday night. It was in a rain storm," Quitter told ABC7 Chicago.

Police say the baby's mother could face criminal charges because the child was not relinquished following the Abandoned Baby Protection Act, which allows parents to give up their newborns without fear of prosecution at safe haven locations including hospitals, fire stations, police stations, or medical emergency facilities.

Advocate Dawn Geras of the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation says communities need to talk more about the law.

"Instead of being in a hospital waiting for someone to claim her, trying to figure out what's going to happen to her, she would be placed into an adoptive family," said Geras.

The safe haven law was first signed in 2001 and was amended last year to extend 'save abandonment' to newborns 30 days or younger.

Investigators say they are continuing to follow up on leads and are conferring with the Kane County state's attorney's office about the possibility of criminal charges.

The Department of Children and Family Services is also investigating..

All 50 states now have a safe haven law.


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