CHAMBLEE, Ga. - Police are hoping a mother will come forward after a premature newborn was found abandoned in a gym bag at a medical facility in Chamblee early Thursday morning.
Just after midnight, officers responded to the Family Medical Clinic on Buford Highway after a member of the cleaning staff found a baby boy inside a blue gym bag. Chamblee Police said the umbilical cord was still attached to the baby.
"The gentleman who found him was going to clean the front windows and heard crying, and that's when he opened up the gym bag," Lieutenant Jason Waasdorp said at a news conference early Thursday afternoon. "He was the one who called 911."
Witnesses and surveillance video helped investigators determine the 4.86-pound infant was left outside in the entryway of the clinic early Wednesday morning, around 7 a.m. At some point, a staff member brought the bag inside and placed it on top of a lab collection box, thinking it belonged to a patient. That staff member didn't open the bag, according to police.
"It is heartbreaking, but we'd like people to understand that Georgia has a Safe Haven law and under that law, you are able, as a mother, to give up your baby within 72 hours of giving birth at a medical facility," Waasdorp said. "However, the mother has to leave her information with the facility."
Waasdorp said since the mother did not meet the Georgia Safe Haven law requirements, she could face several charges, including the abandonment of a child, deprivation of a child, and child cruelty in the second degree.
Investigators said the baby, who appears to be Hispanic, was in the zipped gym bag for about 17 hours without any food, water or attention. He was taken to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, where he's currently being treated. He's now in the custody of the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS).
"He's doing great and took his first bottle this morning," Waasdorp said at the news conference. "Everything has been checking out well for him. [He's] doing well all the way around."
Family Medical Clinic employees and Chamblee police are calling the boy a "miracle baby," including Officer Beth Frye who was the first responding officer. According to Waasdorp, the 21-year police veteran has responded to two other infant-related calls and she has delivered babies on duty in the past.
"She did a great job," he said.
Investigators said they believe the mother was scared and didn't want to care for the child, but they are hoping she will come forward and speak with police.