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Bug-covered baby found abandoned at Houston apartment

HOUSTON – A newborn girl was found abandoned and covered in ants Thursday at an apartment complex in North Harris County, authorities said.

According to Harris County deputies, the child was found about 5 a.m. in a grassy area at the Bridges of Cypress Creek apartments on Red Oak Drive.

Investigators said a resident at the complex, who was on his way to work, heard a baby crying, looked in a flower bed and found the newborn covered in ants and other debris. He took the baby to his apartment and called 911, investigators said.

"I heard something like a cat," said Albert Peterson, the resident who told Channel 2 News he discovered the newborn. "She was there on the ground in the flower bed with ants. She was covered from head to toe and all in her ears... She had a lot of strength too. She was fighting."

VIDEO: Witness finds abandoned baby

"I was like 'Hey, there's a baby outside on the sidewalk," said John Baldwin, who recorded video of the baby on the ground after Peterson found her. "I was like, 'Call 911!'"

“I’m in shock. There’s a hospital, not even a block down the road and if the mother was so worried about the infant’s safety she could’ve easily gone to drop off the baby,” resident Roger Coreas said.

Deputies said the child was less than an hour old and her umbilical cord was still attached. The baby was taken to Texas Children’s Hospital in The Woodlands for treatment. The hospital said the baby was in good condition.

Investigators said they followed a trail of blood to a nearby apartment. When deputies knocked on the door, the residents at first refused to answer, investigators said. The two people inside eventually opened the door and denied knowing anything about the baby, but later a 21-year-old woman admitted she was the mother, deputies said.

Investigators concluded that the child was born inside the apartment and then taken outside and dumped in the bushes.

The mother and another person were taken into custody.

"Had this neighbor not been here, we'd be looking at a homicide," Harris County Deputy Thomas Gilliland said. "It's a miracle the child was found."

The mother was examined by paramedics and is expected to be OK.

Child Protective Services is helping in the investigation.

A CPS spokesperson said in a release that the child would be taken into temporary custody while the agency looks for a relative who is willing to care for the child either long-term or temporarily.

CPS encourages parents who are unable to care for their newborn to "to call the hotline (1-877-904-SAVE), or find a hospital, fire station or EMS station and give their child to an employee there." Investigators said there is a fire station close to the apartment complex where the baby was born.

“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 said. “If you feel like you just can’t do it, there’s someone out there that can.”

According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services website, under the Baby Moses Law, there are steps parents must follow if they are considering taking a baby to a designated Safe Haven:

  • Your baby must be 60 days old or younger and unharmed and safe.
  • You may take your baby to any hospital, fire station or emergency medical services station in Texas.
  • You need to give your baby to an employee who works at one of these safe places and tell this person that you want to leave your baby at a Safe Haven.
  • You may be asked by an employee for family or medical history to make sure that your baby receives the care they need.

A person who surrenders an unharmed infant at a Safe Haven will not be prosecuted, the website says.
The newborn's mother, in this case, could face charges of abandoning a child, deputies said.

Posted by KPRC2 Cathy Hernandez on Thursday, August 10, 2017