Mother of Baby Allegedly Abandoned at Nativity Scene Identified, Will Not Face Charges

District Attorney: "The mother followed the spirit of New York s 'Safe Haven' law"

Photo: Courtesy Fr. Christopher Ryan Heanue

The mother who allegedly abandoned a baby outside a New York City church has been identified but she will not face criminal charges, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced late Wednesday.

On Monday, a custodian at the Holy Child Jesus Catholic Church in Queens discovered an infant inside of the manger of a nativity scene set up inside the church. The baby was wrapped in towels with its umbilical cord still attached.

The baby was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he was determined to be healthy and in stable condition.

In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said that the woman who allegedly left the baby had been identified and that his office has decided not to press charges. Brown did not release the woman’s name.

“The mother followed the spirit of New York’s ‘Safe Haven’ Law, which allows a parent to leave a child not older than 30 days with an appropriate person or in a suitable location where the parent promptly notifies an appropriate person of the child’s location,” Brown said.

“It appears that the mother, in this case, felt her newborn child would be found safely in the church and chose to place the baby in the manger because it was the warmest place in the church, and further she returned the following morning to make certain that the baby had been found,” Brown’s continued.

Surveillance video from a 99-cent store in Queens shows a woman holding a bundle wrapped in a black jacket, according to PIX 11. The woman picks up some purple towels, which appear to be the same towels in which the infant was swaddled. The woman then makes a purchase and leaves the store with a bag.

New York’s safe haven law says that newborns can be anonymously left at a church, hospital, police or fire station without prosecution. However, the baby has to be left in the care of someone or authorities have to be called right away.

Brown said in his statement that “above all, it is important that the baby be left with a person, not in an undisclosed location.”

Any parent wishing to leave their child can call and the child will be picked up by child care workers. The number is 1-877-796-HOPE.

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