Abandoned Infant Doing Well in DCF Custody
DEBARY, Fla. (AP) - A baby girl left at a central Florida fire station is doing well in state custody.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported the 6-week-old girl is in good health after an ordeal that began Dec. 16. She was supposed to be left at a DeBary Fire station because her mother didn't want her. Instead, she was rescued by newspaper carrier Anthony Ackeridge.
The story began in the early morning hours when 53-year-old man flagged down the newspaper carrier, saying he'd found a newborn baby outside a convenience store. The man had wrapped the child in his shirt. The carrier called 911 and a Volusia County Sheriff's deputy arrived.
The man who'd "found" the baby was questioned and his story quickly unraveled. Deputies learned he was dating the baby's mother, but was not the child's father. He told deputies that the girl's mother didn't want her and had asked him to leave her at a fire station, as allowed under Florida's Safe Haven law. The law allows parents to leave a newborn without legal repercussions at a fire station, hospital or emergency medical station.
The man admitted to deputies that he made up the story about finding the baby at the convenience store. He said the baby had been born in the bathroom of a friend's apartment the night before.
According to the newspaper, the man said the friend had driven him to the fire station and he had knocked on doors and windows, but no one answered. So he wrapped the baby in his shirt and started walking, looking for help.
Had he left the baby at the fire station, she would have gone straight to an adoption agency and given to a family. But, because of the set of circumstances, the child placed in DCF custody, according to agency spokeswoman Carrie Proudfit. She said dozens of people have inquired about adopting the baby.
The man was charged with providing a false story to law enforcement and resisting arrest without violence. He entered a not guilty plea at his first appearance. So far, the state attorney has not brought formal charges.
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