Authorities are praising an alert Texas man for saving the life of an abandoned newborn baby. Albert Peterson was on his way to work around 5am on Thursday morning, when he heard the whimpers of what sounded like a cat. Instead, the stunned man happened upon the hours-old infant—umbilical cord still attached—covered in ants and lying in the bushes outside the Houston apartment complex where he lives.
“I heard some crying and whining and crying, and I kept walking until I got closer to the noise, and then I looked at the ground and there was a baby down there,” Peterson told KHOU. “She had the mucus and the blood and umbilical cord and everything. That’s just sad, for a human being to do another human being like that.”
While waiting for authorities to arrive, Peterson cleaned and swaddled the child, but not before another man, John Baldwin, took a brief video of the horrifying scene.
“I was like ‘Hey, there’s a baby outside on the sidewalk,’” Baldwin recalled. “I was like, ‘Call 911!’”
When police arrived at the Cypress Creek complex, they followed a trail of blood from the flowerbed where the newborn was dumped to the apartment of 21-year-old Sidney Woytasczyk, who has since been identified as the mother. She lived in the building with her own mother, Tina Woytasczyk, and her boyfriend, Deandre Skillern, who claims to be the father of the child. Both Woytasczyk and Skillern said they had no idea Sidney was pregnant.
Officials believe the young woman gave birth to the baby in her apartment around 11:30pm Wednesday, which means the child was exposed to the elements for nearly six hours before being rescued by Peterson.
“Without this neighbor, we’d be looking at a whole different scene, probably a homicide,” said Harris County Deputy Thomas Gilliland.
Though the newborn suffered a bacterial infection, likely from the improper removal of the umbilical chord, and rapid heart rate, she is said to be doing well in a local hospital. The child’s mother was also taken to an area hospital for medical attention. She has not yet been charged with a crime, and it is not believed Skillern will be prosecuted.
Calls have poured in from people looking to adopt the child, who is currently under the custody of child protection services. Skillern has submitted a DNA test and hopes to gain custody of the little girl as does her maternal grandmother.
Neighbors were particularly disheartened by the callous act because under Texas’ Baby Moses Law the woman could have handed the newborn over to a designated safe haven space (like a hospital or fire house) no questions asked. Instead, prosecutors said a grand jury will be presented with the case next week to determine if she will face charges.
“It’s shocking, it’s frustrating at the same time, because if you just can’t, can’t do it, there are other ways of going about it,” resident Rontrell Lucas told KPRC2. “If you feel like you just can’t do it, there’s someone out there that can.”
“That life is not something you can take for granted,” Calvin Johnson, a father of two newborns who lives in the complex told KHOU. “It’s making me tear up right now, that is really sick.”
(H/T: Daily Mail)