Surveillance footage captured an unidentified woman before she allegedly abandoned her baby at a nativity scene at a church, it has emerged.
The baby still had his umbilical cord attached when he was found in a manger in a crèche at the Holy Child Jesus Church in Queens, New York on Tuesday.
The footage from a nearby convenience store shows the mother buying towels before the child was found. The baby was found swaddled in the towels by custodian Jose Moran.
“I followed the cries,” Moran told the New York Daily News. “I couldn’t believe my eyes. The baby was wrapped in towels. He still had his umbilical cord. He was next to the Virgin (Mary).”
He added: “The baby is beautiful. They call him baby Jesus.”
The church’s priest, Father Christopher Heanue, told INSIDE EDITION that staff called 911 and the baby was taken to a nearby hospital. Emergency responders gave the 5lb 2oz boy a clean bill of health. It is believed he was born four or five hours before he was found.
“The beautiful thing about this is that the crèche was put up earlier than it was supposed to be,” Heanue said. “God works in his own way, that this mother would come into the church and see the perfect crèche and put this baby (in it).”
He added several members of his church have already expressed interest in the baby.
“There are people in the parish who would love to adopt the child,” he said. “They believe as I do, this child was left in the church for a reason. So we would all like to see the child stay within the church.”
Churches are considered safe havens where unwanted infants can be left, but the law requires that the child be left with an adult.