Police Say Abandonment of Newborn at Fire Station is Legal
POSTED: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 - 6:55am
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 2:24pm
Viewers Criticize Police for Using Crime Stoppers in Case
Someone left a 2 day old baby girl on the doorstep of a Westside fire station Sunday night.
Under Texas law it's a designated "safe place" for parents to legally and anonymously abandon unwanted newborns.
NewsChannel 9 viewer Laura Alvarez contacted us after seeing the story.
She was concerned because police were asking the public to call Crime Stoppers, hoping to get information on the baby's relatives.
"That would discourage young women not in the best situation to keep their baby. They would be thought of as criminals and be discouraged to find help," said Alvarez.
Police later said they didn't need the public to call Crime Stoppers after all.
That's because the abandonment seems to fall within legal guidelines of a state law called The Baby Moses Law.
“We're still looking at the case but we're at a point right now where we don't believe that person will be charged with a crime," said Chris Mears, spokesperson for EPPD.
According to Child Protective Services the baby must be dropped off at a “safe site” like a hospital or fire station, be younger than 60 days old and be unharmed.
Police say they initially couldn't assume this case met those criteria and that's why they asked the public to call Crime Stoppers with information.
Despite the name of the hotline, police say that doesn't mean a crime has been committed.
"It's unfortunate that people took it that way. We routinely offer Crime Stoppers as an option for people to give us information, even if we're not investigating a crime,” said Mears.
Alvarez just hopes this case will clear up the confusion.
"Doing this story there will be people made aware that it's not illegal. That it's safe. If this is your only recourse it's better than what the other possibilities,” she said.