AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department is asking for the public’s help in finding the mom of a baby who was left in a north Austin neighborhood Tuesday morning.
Austin police say it happened around 7:36 a.m. in the 11700 block of Rotherham Drive. That’s near Dessau Road and the Copperfield Nature Trail in north Austin.
Officers and Austin-Travis County EMS responded to a welfare check call in the area. Someone was on their early morning walk when they heard a small child crying near the community mailboxes, according to APD.
The person went over to the mailboxes and found a newborn child lying on the ground, APD says. The child was wrapped in a white blanket with colorful dinosaurs on it, according to police. That’s when they called 911.
The baby was taken to a local hospital and is in stable condition, APD says. Investigators say there was no indication of abuse or neglect. Because of the medical information found from the baby, police say they have concerns for the health and well-being of the mother.
In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, APD says they don’t know anything about the family of the child. Officers say the baby is a girl, and she is believed to have been born between 8 p.m. Monday and 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Police say they are in the beginning stages of the investigation and just want to make sure the mother is okay at this point.
“Given the information gleaned from that child’s exam, there is concern about the health and well-being about the mother, and that is why we are reaching out to the public,” said Sgt. Michael Crumrine with APD’s Child Abuse Unit. “Our number one concern is if we can reunite this child with their family. Family is a very broad term. It doesn’t necessarily mean the mother. It can mean various other aspects of the family.”
Neighbors on Rotherham Drive couldn’t provide much information to police. A woman said she was walking her dogs by the mailboxes about an hour before the baby was found, but didn’t see or hear anything suspicious.
“I can’t even think of a mother that is recently pregnant or has been walking babies,” said Aleia Schurtz, who has lived in Austin for over 20 years. “My first thought, after my concern for the baby and found out the baby was alive was, ‘how is the mom? Did something happen to that mom that forced her into that situation?'”
The baby is now in the custody of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
Officers are asking anyone with information about the mom or incident to call APD’s Child Abuse Tip Line at (512) 974-6880 or Crime Stoppers at (512) 472-TIPS.
Baby Moses Law
Austin Police explained there is a safe way to give up a newborn if the parents can’t take care of the child. It’s called Baby Moses or Safe Haven Law.
The baby must be 60 days old or younger, unharmed and safe. The baby can be taken to any hospital, fire station or EMS station in Texas.
The parent must give the baby to an employee at one of these places, and let their intent be known that they’re not coming back. The parent may be asked for the family’s medical history to ensure the baby receives the care it needs.
In Region 7, which includes inside the KXAN viewing area plus Waco and College Station, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services tells us this is the first time this year a baby has been left on the street.
So far this year, two children in Central Texas were handed over to authorities under the Baby Moses Law. Statewide — there have been 20 children.