A one-hour-old baby girl was found abandoned on a hill outside a Florida trailer park early Saturday, with her umbilical cord and placenta still attached, authorities said.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said during a press conference Sunday that deputies responded to the scene near Mulberry around 1:45 a.m., after a couple reported finding a newborn wrapped in old blankets on a hill outside the Regal Loop Mobile Home Park.
Judd said the baby was likely born about an hour to an hour-and-a-half earlier, when a neighbor, identified by ABC Action News as Magdalena Gregorio Ordonez, said she heard the sounds of crying, which she initially mistook for “some cats screaming and fighting.”
Temperatures in the area were in the low 50s at the time, and the sheriff said the baby likely would have died had it not been for her crying that alerted Ordonez and her family, whom Judd praised as “true heroes.”
“She’s got a great set of lungs, so as she was screaming out for help, she saved her own life as well,” he said.
First responders who were called to the scene found the baby to be fully developed and weighing 6.5 lbs. The sheriff said the infant was healthy but had some insect bites from being left outdoors.
The sheriff told reporters that he named the infant “Angle Grace LNU.”
“She’s as beautiful as an angel, it’s by the grace of good she’s not dead, and LNU is ‘last name unknown,’” Judd said.
Baby Angel has been turned into the custody of the Department of Children and Families.
Authorities believe the newborn is of Hispanic descent. They suspect her mother is young and likely has ties to the area where the child was found.
Deputies used a K-9 unit, a drone and bloodhound to try to find the mother, but were unsuccessful. DNA samples have been taken from the infant to try and track down her relatives.
The sheriff said the baby’s mother will be held accountable for her actions “because she left this child in the woods, ostensibly to die.”
Florida has a safe haven law that allows parents to leave newborns at a fire station or medical facility up to a week after birth.
“You can literally walk up, hand that baby to a firefighter, and drive off, and never disclose who you are, and there’s no criminal liability to that,” Judd said.