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Deputies Search For Florida Mother Accused of Abandoning Hour-Old Newborn In The Woods With Placenta Still Attached
A family in the area saved the newborn after hearing her cry in the woods by their home. "She’s as beautiful as an angel; it’s by the grace of God she’s not dead," a Polk County Sheriff said.
Florida sheriff’s deputies are still trying to identify the mother accused of abandoning a newborn baby girl just one hour after birth, still attached to the umbilical cord and placenta, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
“We will hold her accountable because she left this child in the woods, ostensibly to die,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd during a Monday press conference.
Deputies found the newborn around 1:45 a.m. Saturday, wrapped in a blanket, on a hill near the Regal Loop Mobile Home Park in Mulberry — about 35 miles east of Tampa — after someone reported hearing a baby crying outside, according to a press release.
“A lady thought she heard some cats screaming and fighting about midnight going into Saturday morning, then it quieted down,” said Judd. “About an hour later she heard this screaming and crying again, and she went outside and said, ‘well, that’s a baby.’ She got her husband and the two of them searched around. Out in the woods, they found this infant. This beautiful baby girl.”
That woman was Magdalena Gregorio Ordonez, according to Tampa ABC station WFTS.
“I was really surprised that they left a poor little girl on the [ground],” said her daughter, 12-year-old Eulalia.
Judd called the family “true heroes” for saving the infant.
The sheriff said the infant is 6.5 pounds, fully developed, and he believes she’s of Hispanic descent.
Polk County Fire Rescue Medics believe the baby was born about one hour before she was found, based on body temperature. The outside temperature was in the lower 50s at the time. Medics took the child to a local hospital, and deputies said she is healthy and stable. The child is in the custody of Florida’s Department of Children and Families. The sheriff's office added in a Facebook comment, "We know that they will take excellent care of her, and we pray that she has a bright future with a loving family."
“I’ve named her Angel Grace Lnu,” Judd said. “She’s as beautiful as an angel, it’s by the grace of God she’s not dead. ‘Lnu’ is last name unknown.”
The sheriff said they are still investigating if the infant was born in the woods or was placed there after birth. Deputies used dog tracking units, aviation units, and bloodhounds to search for the mother of the infant, and also went door to door in the area, but so far the mother has not been located.
“If mom doesn’t want the child, I can tell you there are thousands of people across the United States that would give anything to have a healthy little baby girl,” Judd said. “We’ll make sure the child gets a good home, but we’ll also find out with the community’s help who the mother is. We want to hold her accountable, but she’s not required to take the child if she doesn’t want the child."
The sheriff said DNA samples have been taken from the placenta and umbilical cord, and those samples are currently at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab in Tampa.
“It’s an event that we don’t see very often, because there are Safe Haven Laws [in Florida] where you can legally take a baby a week or less in age to a fire station, EMS station, a hospital, and hand it off anonymously and you have no criminal proceedings against you,” Judd said.
If anyone has any information about the infant or the mother of the infant, they are asked to call the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 863-298-6200.