Newborn With Umbilical Cord and Placenta Attached Found Abandoned in Florida Woods: Cops

A stock image of caution tape in the woods.
A stock image of caution tape in the woods.Getty

The baby girl, who was just an hour old when she was found, based on body temperature estimates, is alive and healthy.

A newborn was discovered abandoned on a hill in the woods outside of a Florida mobile home with its placenta and umbilical cord attached over the weekend, authorities said. The baby girl was found wrapped in blankets by a couple on Saturday morning, according to authorities.

A woman had reportedly heard screams resembling cats fighting late Friday night into early Saturday morning, before a search in the nearby woods with her husband led them to the crying infant, according to police.

The baby, weighing 6.5 pounds and just hours old when she was discovered based on her body temperature, is healthy with “a great set of lungs,” Polk County Sheriff’s Deputy Grady Judd said.

“Thank god for neighbors who were inquisitive and said that screaming is not right, and it’s not coming from the mobile home park and out in the woods,” Judd told press during a conference. “The baby is beautiful and healthy.”

Authorities have since named her Angel Grace LNU, which stands for “last name unknown.” “She’s as beautiful as an angel, she inspires grace of god,” Judd said.

He added that the investigation is related to child endangerment, although had the baby been found dead, it would have been a homicide investigation.

"We don't know whether the child was born in the woods or whether the child was taken to the woods after it was born," Judd said. "Certainly, we saved this person from a homicide charge, because if that child was laid out there and died, we'd be talking about a murder investigation." 

The identity of the mother remains unknown, and authorities are continuing to search for her.

“From experience, usually it’s a younger person who does not want the child or had somehow hid the presence of the child,” Judd said. He added that the child appears to be of Hispanic origin, and based on “experience,” authorities believe the mom may either be from the two mobile home communities in the area, or has some other sort of tie to the Mulberry, located west of Tampa.

Judd said they intend to hold the mother accountable. “Anyone that wants to give the mother a pass, is just absolutely wrong,” he told press. “There has to be responsibility and accountability. It’s not like we’re going to put her in jail, turn the lock and put the key away, especially in light of there was a way for her to do this without any criminal charge.”

There are safe haven laws in place in Florida, and anyone who wants to use this method can turn over a newborn baby that is less than one-week old to a staffed fire station, hospital or EMS station, Judd said.

“If mom doesn’t want the child, there are thousands of people across the United States who would give anything to have a healthy little baby girl,” Judd said. “We’ll make sure the child gets a good home but we’ll find out with the community’s help who the mother is.”

Authorities had inquired around the two mobile home communities over the weekend, but no one seemed to know anyone who could have been pregnant, Judd said. They now intend to use DNA samples from the newborn to determine any family linkage.

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