A Texas woman dropped off her 11-month-old son at a Houston fire station, according to reports, out of fear for his safety.
The woman, who was not identified by name in a KTRK report, said she and her child had been turned away from a shelter.
She reportedly told the police she and the boy had nowhere to go and would have had to stay overnight in her car.
Two-year-old in the arms of firefighters after being left behind at station 68. The mom told authorities she was turned away from a shelter and had been living in her car. pic.twitter.com/6RhD7WSxVM
— Jeff Ehling (@JeffEhlingABC13) May 14, 2019
“We are going to be sleeping in the car, somebody going to come up with a gun, kill us, rob us,” she told the media outlet. “Either that or they will see me sleeping. A woman, guy, somebody will come by the car and say, ‘Oh, she sleeping in the car with her baby, we fixing to call the police.'”
The woman left the child at Fire Station 68 at around 3 a.m., according to the report, before returning about an hour later.
No charges have been brought against the woman, who claimed to be a victim of a domestic violence situation.
Baby Moses Law
Parents unable to care for a child that is 60 days or younger can legally drop them off at fire stations, hospitals, and emergency centers in Texas under what’s called the Baby Moses law.
“If you have a newborn that you’re unable to care for, you can bring your baby to a designated safe place with no questions asked,” the Texas Department of State Health Services states.
Also knows as the Safe Haven law, the Baby Moses law “gives parents who are unable to care for their child a safe and legal choice to leave their infant with an employee at a designated safe place—a hospital, freestanding emergency medical care facility, fire station, or emergency medical services (EMS) station.”
The Department notes that the parent’s identity will not be divulged and medical care will be provided to the baby.
Parents who leave their children with employees of designated safe places will not be prosecuted for abandonment or neglect.
Baby Left in Middle of Road
The incident recalls the recent case of a woman who allegedly left a newborn baby with its umbilical cord still attached lying in the middle of a California road in cold weather.
The Madera County Sheriff’s Office was cited by ABC news as saying that a newspaper delivery person found the newborn baby girl in the early morning hours of Monday, Feb. 11, lying “on the center line of a roadway.”
“The newborn was discovered dressed only in a soiled onesie in weather just below 30 degrees,” said the California Highway Patrol in a statement.
The newspaper carrier reportedly took the baby into his vehicle to keep her warm and called 911.
The California Highway Patrol said that personnel from Central Division’s SAFE and Madera Area responded to the scene and “provided the newborn girl with a blanket for warmth.”
The baby was taken to Valley Children’s Hospital for treatment and is doing well, according to the CHP statement.
‘Awful, Chilling Moment’
Aurelio Fuentes Jr. said it was an “awful, chilling, moment” when he came upon the infant lying in the middle of a dark roadway, as he was delivering copies of The Fresno Bee in the Madera Ranchos area, the Fresno Bee reported.
Fuentes said that luckily, the traffic was light.
“If there was another vehicle, that baby would have been badly hurt (or killed),” he said, according to the Fresno Bee.
Fuentes told KFSN that in addition to the danger from passing vehicles, there was the risk of wild animals happening upon the child.
“It could’ve been worse because out its pitch black,” he said, adding, “there could’ve been coyotes, there’s cars going by fast down that road.”
Madera County Undersheriff Tyson Pogue said at a press conference, “It’s very fortunate that the child was discovered by the newspaper delivery person before she was seriously injured or even possibly killed.”
“The baby was cold, but luckily she was discovered early enough that she’ll make a full recovery,” said Pogue.
The California Highway Patrol noted in its statement that California has a law similar to the Baby Moses law in Texas.
“The California Highway Patrol would like to take the opportunity to remind everyone of California’s Safely Surrendered Baby Law,” CHP said in the statement. “Parents or persons with lawful custody can safely surrender an infant within 72 hours of birth, with no questions asked, at designated safe drop-off sites.”
Safe surrender sites are hospitals or other locations, typically fire stations, according to the law.