A newborn baby was found crying inside a bathroom trash can at a California gas station, leading to the arrest of a woman allegedly responsible for abandoning the child, FOX 11 reports.
Around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, a clerk at a Chevron station on West Orangethorpe Avenue in Fullerton discovered the baby and called authorities.
“The call for service was a possible newborn child in the bathroom trash can,” Fullerton Police Sergeant Ryan O’Neil told FOX 11. “Upon arrival, officers located a newborn child in the trash can and immediately began life-saving measures.”
The baby, believed to have been just an hour old, was rushed to Children’s Hospital of Orange County and is in critical but stable condition. It is not clear if the child was born inside the restroom, according to KTLA-TV.
Investigators later obtained surveillance footage allegedly showing the suspect’s vehicle, which led them to serve a search warrant around 1:45 a.m. Friday several blocks away and arrest 25-year-old Venissa Maldonado. Police did not describe Maldonado’s relationship with the newborn.
O’Neil offered a reminder about California’s surrender law, which allows individuals to legally and safely surrender newborns at hospitals and fire departments.
“There are Safe Surrender Baby laws that allow parents, guardians or mothers to surrender their child within 72 hours of birth with no questions asked. There are hospitals that are designated as safe surrender along with fire departments,” O’Neil said, according to FOX 11.
As part of the process, the person surrendering the child is given an ID bracelet if they later change their mind and want to reclaim the newborn.
Maldonado faces charges of attempted murder and felony child abuse. A judge set her bail at $500,000 and she is expected back in court on Monday, according to KABC-TV.
To report additional information about the case, call Fullerton Police Detective Marcus Saenz at 714-738-5361. Anonymous tips can be sent to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS or at occrimestoppers.org.
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[Featured image: Venissa Maldonado/Police Handout]