Abandoned baby safe; mom may be charged

Abandoned baby safe; mom may be charged

September 23rd, 2010 by Jessie Gable in News

A baby boy who was abandoned Tuesday in Whitfield County, Ga., is in stable condition with good vital signs at Hamilton Medical Center, hospital officials said.

The infant was believed to be less than 12 hours old when he was found in the cab of an inoperable dump truck near a home on Northwood Circle, Sheriff Scott Chitwood said.

Investigators located a 17-year-old girl at the home who admitted the infant was hers and that she had placed him in the truck, Chitwood said.

A family member heard the infant crying and called 911, he said. No one in the girl's family knew she was pregnant or had given birth, he said.

After a full investigation, the case will be turned over to the county's district attorney, who will decide whether to charge the mother, Chitwood said.

Kermit McManus, district attorney for Whitfield County, said a 17-year-old in Georgia is considered an adult for all criminal charges.

While the girl cannot be charged with reckless abandonment of a child because the infant still is alive, law enforcement officials have been working with the DA to determine if any other criminal charges apply, McManus said.

He said he is considering the safe haven law of Georgia, which would have exempted the girl from any criminal charges had she taken the infant to a medical center.

According to the National Safe Haven Alliance website, a parent can leave an unwanted newborn up to seven days old at any hospital, institutional infirmary, health center or birthing center in Georgia. The parent must locate an employee to take the baby but is not required to give a name.

Contact Jessie Gable at jgable@timesfrepress.com or 423-757-6345.