On Tuesday, Feb. 12 at about 8:00pm, a newborn was found outside Lake Charles Memorial Hospital - Gauthier Campus, located on W. Gauthier Rd. in Lake Charles.

According to Kim Myers from the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office, a woman was getting in her car to leave the hospital, heard crying and saw a newborn baby lying naked in the grassy area near the parking lot, roughly 50 yards from the from the door of the hospital. The baby, an African-American female, was immediately taken into the hospital. Hospital personnel told deputies that the baby was a full-term newborn. Deputies determined the baby was in the grass for about 15 minutes.

"Someone knows a woman that was pregnant yesterday and is no longer pregnant today and does not have a baby,” stated Sheriff Tony Mancuso.  “Once this woman is found, she will be arrested and charged with child abandonment, but had she utilized the Louisiana Safe Haven Law, no charges would be filed against her.”

The Louisiana Safe Haven Law states mothers can go to the nearest Safe Haven facility and give the baby, up to 60 days old, to an employee at that facility with no questions asked.  Some designated facilities in Louisiana include any hospital; fire station; or law enforcement agency.  The infant must be left with an employee; if there is no employee present at the site the parent can contact 911. If a parent is unable to travel to a Safe Haven facility, they can call 911, and a law enforcement officer, fire fighter and/or EMS provider will be dispatched, confirm the Safe Haven relinquishment and transport the newborn to a hospital.  As long as the parent leaves their baby with an employee and the baby shows no signs of abuse or neglect the parent will be protected by the Safe Haven Law and will not be arrested or charged.

The newborn is still in the hospital for a health assessment but is doing well.  Once the baby leaves the hospital, she will be placed in the custody of the Dept. of Children and Family Services who will find a family to care for the baby, said Myers.

Anyone with information regarding the abandoning of the newborn baby girl or the identity of the newborn’s mother should contact the CPSO at 337-491-3605.