LAKE CHARLES, La. — The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office is asking for help in locating the mother of a baby found lying naked in the grassy area near the parking lot of Lake Charles Memorial Hospital-Gauthier Campus.

A woman was getting into her car in the parking lot when she heard crying, about 50 yards from the front door of the hospital according to a Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office news release.

The baby is believed to have been in the grass for about 15 minutes, and when found, was taken into the hospital according to the release. 

Personnel told deputies the baby is girl, and is a full-term newborn according to the release. 

The sheriff's office is asking for the public's help in locating the baby's mother. Sheriff Tony Mancuso says in the release the woman will be charged with child abandonment. 

Mancuso says she could have utilized the Louisiana Safe Haven Law. The law states mothers can go to the nearest Safe Haven facility and give the baby, up to 60 days old, to an employee at that facility with no questions asked according to the release. As long as the parent leaves their baby with an employee and the baby shows no signs of abuse or neglect the parent will be protected by the Safe Haven Law and will not be arrested or charged according to the release.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office at 337-491-3605.

From a Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office news release:

Last night at approximately 8 p.m. deputies with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office received a call in reference to a newborn being found outside at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital – Gauthier Campus on W. Gauthier Rd. in Lake Charles.

When deputies arrived they learned a woman was getting in her car to leave the hospital when she heard crying and saw a newborn baby lying naked in the grassy area near the parking lot, approximately 50 yards from the front door of the hospital.  Deputies determined the newborn had been in the grass for approximately 15 minutes, and when discovered, was immediately taken into the hospital.  Hospital personnel advised detectives the baby is an African-American female, and is a full-term newborn.    

The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office is asking assistance in locating the infant’s mother.  “Someone knows a women that was pregnant yesterday and is no longer pregnant today and does not have a baby,” stated Sheriff Tony Mancuso.  “Once this women is found she will be arrested and charged with child abandonment; but had she utilized the Louisiana Safe Haven Law, no charges would be filed against her.”

The Louisiana Safe Haven Law states mothers can go to the nearest Safe Haven facility and give the baby, up to 60 days old, to an employee at that facility with no questions asked.  Some designated facilities in Louisiana include any hospital; fire station; or law enforcement agency.  The infant must be left with an employee; if there is no employee present at the site the parent can contact 911.  If a parent is unable to travel to a Safe Haven facility, they can call 911, and a law enforcement officer, fire fighter and/or EMS provider will be dispatched, confirm the Safe Haven relinquishment and transport the newborn to a hospital.  As long as the parent leaves their baby with an employee and the baby shows no signs of abuse or neglect the parent will be protected by the Safe Haven Law and will not be arrested or charged.

The newborn is still in the hospital for a health assessment but is doing well. Once the baby leaves the hospital, she will be placed in the custody of the Dept. of Children and Family Services who will find a family to care for the baby.

If you have any information on this incident or know who this newborn’s mother may be, please call the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office at 491-3605.

CPSO Detective Jacob Dore is the lead investigator on this case.