NEW YORK (AP) — Authorities have decided not to prosecute a mother who left her newborn baby in a Christmas manger inside a New York City church.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown on Wednesday said the unidentified mother felt her newborn was in a warm place and would be found safe.
A church custodian at Holy Child of Jesus Church in Richmond Hill, Queens, found the 5-pound baby Monday afternoon. The newborn was wrapped in towels and had his umbilical cord still attached.
“He was wrapped in, for lack of a better word, swaddling clothes,” the Rev. Christopher Ryan Heanue said.
Emergency crews were called to the scene. They took the baby to the hospital where he was listed in good condition.
Infants younger than 30 days can be left anonymously at designated places – such as a church, hospital, police or fire station – but an adult must be there to accept the child, according to the New York State Abandoned Infant Protection Act, also known as the safe haven law.
“I believe that when this woman came into our church to find refuge, she found in this nativity scene a place for her son a place where he would be safe,” Heanue said.
Brown said the mother had also returned the next morning to make sure the baby had been found.
State law says a newborn can be dropped off at a church, hospital, police or fire station. But it requires the child to be left with someone or for authorities to be called immediately.