Neighbors near abandoned infant stress importance of Safe Havens

Neighbors near abandoned infant stress importance of Safe Havens
Source: Caleb Holder
Source: Caleb Holder
Source: Caleb Holder
Source: Caleb Holder
Source: Caleb Holder
Source: Caleb Holder

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A Tech Terrace neighborhood hopes for answers after a newborn baby boy was found abandoned in a plastic bin there Monday morning.

It happened near 22nd Street and Akron, around 7 a.m., when a resident came to her vehicle in the driveway and found the baby boy in the bin.

She called 911 and the baby was rushed to UMC, where he remains in good health.

Investigators continue to search for who left him there.

Mattie Steger started that day with her normal workout, and did not see all the emergency responders until she returned around 11 a.m.

"That is abnormal in this part of the area," she said.

An ambulance and at least three police units were there, she said, along with a plastic bin sitting on the driveway.

"I had no idea what was going on, so I walked back inside," she said.

Later that day, Mattie said a CPS investigator came to her door.

"She asked me if I had seen an infant younger than two by itself around here, and I was like, 'No, I haven't seen any babies by themselves walking around," she said. "And then, she asked me if I had seen anyone unfamiliar walking around with a bin."

Mattie is not the only person in this neighborhood who got questioned. A man who lived next to her said the CPS worker asked him if he knew if anyone in the neighborhood that just had a baby.

Even some college students said they were asked if they had seen any strollers in the area, or any suspicious vehicles. None of them knew this information, or even what had happened until today.

While Mattie is relieved the newborn is okay, she cannot imagine why he was abandoned in such a way when there are other options.

"It's really sad because you can take it to a fire station or a hospital," she said. "I mean, there's no reason to leave it in a neighborhood."

In fact, in Texas, there is a "Safe Haven" law that says any baby up to 60 days old can be left with an employee on duty at a hospital, an emergency medical services provider, or a child welfare agency in Texas.

Then, a designated emergency infant care provider will take possession of the child without a court order, and they do not have any legal duty to try and find the parent or relatives.

The guardian can even remain anonymous if the child is not abused or neglected. Then, the infant care provider will do anything to protect the physical health and safety of baby.

In the meantime, they have to contact the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services.

The safe havens are recognizable through the notices they are required to post.

You can find more details at: http://safehaven.tv/states/texas/

Information Mattie hopes parents will think about before they endanger their newborn's life.

"You don't have to abandon your child in a plastic bin…that's just not necessary," she said. "There's people out there to help you."

Police say ask anyone who knows information about this case to call Crime Line. That number is 741-1000, and callers will remain anonymous.

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