The mother of an infant girl found on the side of a roadway Saturday night has come forward.
Anne Arundel County Police in Maryland are working with the County State’s Attorney’s Office to determine next steps in a case that has captured the nation’s attention.
Officers found the baby girl shortly before midnight in a car seat carrier on the side of a residential street in Pasadena. A diaper bag was left with the carrier, which had scuff marks of indeterminate origin.
The department released a picture early Sunday of the little girl, estimated to be 2 to 3 months old, with the question, “Do you know the parent of this baby?”
The image was shared more than 27,000 times from the department’s Facebook page, prompting rampant speculation over how she got there. Others urged against rushing to judgment.
By Sunday morning, a person claiming to be the infant’s mother had contacted police, Lieutenant T.J. Smith said in a news conference Sunday.
“We’re most fortunate that the child is not harmed and appears to be in good condition,” Smith said.
Later Sunday, investigators confirmed that the women was in fact the infant’s mother. But many more questions remained that Smith enumerated in the news conference:
— How did the baby get there?
— Was the baby tossed out of a vehicle?
— Was foul play involved?
— Who was the infant supposed to be with last night?
— Was the infant in the custody of the mother when this occurred?
— Did other criminal activities precede this incident?
Smith applauded the neighborhood resident who called police for being “observant enough” to take a closer look at the carrier instead of ignoring it.
Smith called it a “natural reaction” to think a parent might have abandoned the child but cautioned against snap judgments.
“At the same time, we need to make sure that there wasn’t any foul play involved, and that this person wasn’t a victim of a crime herself. So we don’t know the answer to that. We’re trying to figure that out.”
Police will consider charges of child abuse or child abandonment if warranted, but “we’re not at that point just yet,” he said. Maryland has safe haven policies for parents to leave their children in designated locations, including fire stations, churches and hospitals.
“It’s important for people to understand the laws associated with not being able to take care of your child,” he said. “You can’t leave a 2 to 3 month old on the side of the road. End of story. So it would be serious charges if we got to a point where we found out that someone did that on purpose.”
For now, the child is in the custody the Department of Social Services.
“Our main concern is the safety and the well-being of the child,” he said. “Right now, we’re taking it slow to try to figure it out.”