NORTH VERNON, Ind. (Sept. 24, 2015)-- North Vernon Police have located an abandoned newborn and are seeking the public's help in locating the mother.
“I’ve been a police officer for over fifteen years, and we’ve never dealt with anything like this,” said Sgt. Andrew Richmond, with the North Vernon Police Department.
Richmond said the pastor’s wife located the child outside Christ’s Way Christian Church, on the ground near the trash, cleaned up and wrapped in several coats.
EMS crews took the child to Columbus Regional Hospital, suffering from mild dehydration. But investigators said otherwise the baby was safe and sound, with no clues as to how long the child may have been laying there.
The infant is Caucasian and was less than 12 hours old when he was found. Investigators added that the child appears to have been delivered full-term and in good health. On Friday, Columbus Regional Hospital said the child was in good condition.
Investigators later added Friday evening that the child has developed an infection and is being treated for that issue. North Vernon Police said the child's mother could have the same infection, which would be life-threatening if not treated soon.
"This infection is above and beyond any of our earlier concerns of complications which could cause the mother health issues," read a statement from the agency.
Indiana’s Safe Haven law allows a parent, family member, minister, or any responsible person to give up a baby less than thirty days old anonymously and without prosecution at a hospital emergency room, fire station, or police station. In this case, that didn’t happen. Richmond said it’s unclear if the mother thought a church was a protected place.
“One of the specific things about the safe haven law is the places picked for the law ensure the baby’s doing to be discovered in a very short amount of time,” said Richmond.
A fire station sits just down the street from the church where the mother left the child.
The pastor’s wife Angeline Denney who discovered the newborn boy didn’t want to talk on camera Friday, instead posting a statement on the church’s Facebook page referring to the child.
“I will be praying for him and his family, and I ask that others pray, too,” Denney said.
Sgt. Richmond is a new father himself, making the line between parent and officer tougher to deal with.
“This particular case with this age of the child, it does hit close to home to me,” he said.
Investigators said it's imperative that the mother of the child come forward, given new information about the infection the child is facing.
They also want to talk to her because there’s a possibility she could be charged.
Anyone with information can contact the North Vernon Police Department at (812) 346-1466, or Central Dispatch at (812) 346-2345. Tips can be left anonymously.