In central Florida, law enforcement officials are actively trying to locate the parents of an infant female who was found abandoned in a forested area. The baby weighed 6.5 lbs. and was discovered shortly before 2 a.m. on Saturday, when the temperature was in the 50s, according to Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County.
In the state of Florida, safe haven laws allow people to surrender newborns that are up to seven days old. When the baby was found, she was wrapped in an old blanket and was approximately ninety minutes old.
The baby was found by neighbors in the Regal Loop Mobile Home Park, a community in Mulberry, Florida, about 10 miles south of Lakeland, Judd said.
Residents of the Regal Loop Mobile Home Park discovered the infant, according to Sheriff Judd. He said, “A lady thought she heard some cats screaming and fighting at about midnight going into Saturday morning, and then it quieted down.”
The sheriff continued describing the moment of the baby’s discovery, saying, “Then, at about an hour and a half later, she heard this screaming and crying again, and she went outside and said, ‘Well, that’s a baby.’ “
She and her spouse explored the region until they discovered the baby. The newborn still seemed healthy, but had suffered a few bug bits due to being exposed to the outdoors for so long. The baby’s umbilical cord was also still attached to the placenta..
Magdalena Gregorio Ordonez was the woman who found the baby, as reported by ABC Action News. Her 12-year-old daughter, Eulalia Gregorio, expressed her shock at the sight, “I was really surprised that they left a poor little girl on the [ground].”
The Sheriff’s office released the infant to the Department of Children and Families, and the mother is facing charges of child neglect.
According to Sheriff Judd, the infant’s life would have been in danger had she not been found, and the agency will continue to search for the mother in the surrounding area. In order to verify the child’s identity, a sample of the baby’s DNA has been sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab for comparison.