MESA, Ariz. — A newborn baby was found by a Mesa resident on their doorstep Friday in the area of Higley and McKellips roads, police said.
Authorities from the Mesa Police Department are investigating the incident and said the baby was transported to a local hospital for observation.
The resident told police someone rang their doorbell, and they assumed it was a delivery person dropping off a package. A couple of minutes later, the resident discovered the infant on the ground outside their door.
Police believe the baby is less than one day old.
There's no reason to believe this was done by someone known to the Mesa resident, police said.
“Very lucky that, first of all, the resident was actually home… [and] that the resident actually opened the door,” said Detective Richard Encinas with Mesa police. “You can tell it’s 115 out here today; a baby wouldn’t take long to have severe medical issues. So again, very lucky.”
Pete Evans owns a business within walking distance from where the baby was found. He said one of his employees saw a woman in a car before police arrived.
“She saw somebody pull into the parking spot [at a Chase bank], she didn’t see anyone, she saw feet she identified as woman’s feet, and the police apparently think that must have been the person that dropped the baby off,” Evans said.
The home where the baby was left is 1.4 miles from a fire station, one of the places people can drop off a baby, no questions asked.
“By the time somebody finds them, especially in this heat, it’s pretty rare. So, we got super lucky today,” said Darien Gibson, a Glendale firefighter and volunteer at the Arizona Safe Baby Haven Foundation.
The organization promotes education and awareness of Arizona's existing Safe Haven Law to prevent the illegal abandonment of infants across the state, its website reads.
In 2001, the state enacted the statewide Safe Haven Law allowing the legal and anonymous relinquishment of an unharmed infant, up to 30 days after birth, to a designated Safe Haven location such as a fire station, police station, church, or hospital.
The law protects mothers from prosecution if they hand the baby to someone at those locations.
Anyone who needs help or finds themselves in crisis is encouraged to call their hotline: 1-866-707-2229 or visit their website.
“You reach out to us, and we can guide you through the whole process. The last thing that we will offer is the safe haven because we want to make sure that you can be a parent. And if you don’t think you can, can we get you into foster care or an adoption agency. And if it is the last thing you need to go and you need to give your baby to us, we’ll take it,” Gibson said.
Fifty-five babies have been safely surrendered since 2001, the organization said.
“Super blessed that the baby is alive, but we still have a lot more education to do,” Gibson added.
What to do if you find an abandoned baby
Gibson said that if a person discovers an abandoned child, it’s important to call 911 immediately and then make sure they are crying or breathing.
“A cry is a good thing,” he added. “It means that we are conscious and aware of what we are feeling as a baby and that they are breathing and getting enough air.”
The firefighter said if the child is not awake, a person can listen for air moving in and out of their mouth or look if their chest is rising and compressing and check for a pulse.
“Don’t give the baby anything to drink or eat. Let us handle all of that. We will take them to the hospital because they need to be assessed before we give anything to them,” Gibson said. “If the baby doesn’t have an airway that is open and working, and you try and feed them, you’re going to make the problem way worse.”
This is a developing story. We will update this article as more information becomes available.
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