Officials reminding of safe surrender sites, after finding abandoned baby

News

A newborn baby is recovering after being abandoned on a Madera roadway in near freezing temperatures. 

Now first responders want to spread an important message. They want people to know there are safe surrender sites available, so abandoning a child should never be an option.

Aurelio Fuentes was on his newspaper route Monday morning, when he saw what he thought was an animal in the road.

“As I was approaching it closer and closer I could hear cries from this baby… And it’s a baby,” Fuentes said. 

He and another passing motorist called 911.

“It was just a chilling, trembling moment. I was in shock I was shaking,” Fuentes said. 

Investigators said the baby appeared to only be hours old and was dressed in just a onesie in near freezing temperatures.

“In my opinion that’s what brings it from a misdemeanor to a felony. Because when you leave a baby at that age at that time in freezing weather in the middle of the road now you’re talking about conduct that most likely will result in either death or great bodily injury,” legal analyst David Mugridge said. 

Mugridge said if the mother is arrested she will likely be charged with felony child endangerment, which he said carries a possible ten year prison sentence. 

“We’d like to remind everyone that there are many safe surrender sites that will allow someone to surrender a newborn child without any questions asked,” Tyson Pogue the Madera County Undersheriff said. These include hospitals and fire stations. 

“We are ready at any time to accept a child as opposed to the parent abandoning the child. When they feel like they’ve come to the point where they have no choices, we want to give them the option,” Bob Camp a battalion chief with the Fresno Fire Department said. 

Fresno Fire said four babies have been surrendered since they started the program in 2010.

Authorities are asking for the public’s help finding the mother. She’s described as a Hispanic female in her early 20’s driving a smaller white SUV.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Madera County Sheriff’s Office.

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