Baby left in box on porch in good health

January 25, 2011 2:48:51 PM PST
A woman who stepped out for a cigarette discovered a newborn girl in a cardboard box on her Merrillville, Ind., doorstep Friday night.

Despite being left outside in the single digit temperatures, the baby girl is in good health at Methodist Hospital's Southlake Campus in Merrillville, where staff is calling her 'Olivia.'

"I've seen a lot of bad things happen after 17 years on the job," said Merrillville Patrol Officer Gerald Croarkin, whose wife, Angela, found the baby Friday night. "Shootings, stabbings, child neglect cases that will make you sick. You just don't anticipate to see an infant baby on your porch when it's five degrees out."

The couple had just gotten home from dinner Friday around 8 p.m. when Angela stepped outside to smoke a cigarette and found the box. She called her husband outside.

"The box moved and we both jumped back," said Angela Croarkin.

Angela Croarkin said she could tell the child- who still had an umbilical cord- had been wrapped with care in a hooded sweatshirt with a red bandana around her head. However, no one rang the doorbell or otherwise alerted the couple the baby was on their porch.

"That part angers me a little bit, quite frankly. Had I not gone out, five minutes had gone by, we might be talking about a different scenario," said Angela Croarkin.

Olivia is Caucasian, weighs 5 pounds, 15 ounces, and is 18 inches long. She has dark hair and officials believe she was born Friday night not long before she was left on the Croarkin's porch.

Officer Croarkin drives his squad car home and he believes that's why their house in the 7100-block of Van Buren Street was chosen. But the home of a police officer does not qualify as a Safe Haven. Under Indiana law, a baby can be handed to a person at a police station, fire house or emergency room, no questions asked.

"If they trusted that, me individually or me as a policeman, or her. I'm glad they at least put trust in that instead of resorting to a more drastic measure," said Officer Croarkin.

Paramedics took the newborn to the hospital. Olivia was only with the Croarkins for five minutes, but they're already attached.

"I'm thankful that we found her alive. And the emotions of seeing that little bundle, sweet little thing in a box, yeah, there's an emotional tie," said Angela Croarkin.

Police say since they went public with the story dozens of people have called to inquire about adopting Olivia.

Police are looking for the mother. They say it's possible neglect charges could be filed against her, but their main concern is that she gets proper medical attention. Anyone with information should call the Merrillville Police Department.