Newspaper carrier finds newborn on the side of the road
FRESNO, Calif. — Aurelio Fuentes Jr. said it was an “awful, chilling, moment,” early Monday when he came upon a newborn baby in the middle of a dark Madera County roadway as he was delivering copies of The Fresno Bee in the Madera Ranchos area.
The Madera County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the discovery of the girl, who was found with an umbilical cord still attached. The baby was rushed to Valley Children’s Hospital shortly after 4 a.m.
Authorities are still trying to identify the suspect. According to a news release from the sheriff’s office, she was described by witnesses as Hispanic, possibly in her early 20s. She left the scene in a small white SUV of unknown make or model, the sheriff’s office said.
Fuentes is simply grateful that he was driving at 5 mph while delivering newspapers.
“If there was another vehicle, that baby would have been badly hurt (or killed),” he said.
Fuentes said that he was halfway through his route and approaching a customer’s house when he saw something white moving in the middle of the roadway. He thought it was an animal.
As he drove closer, he saw that it was a baby lying on its back, crying.
It was a disorienting sight and it took him a moment to realize what he was seeing. Then, he called 911 and got out of his car. The 911 operator told him to pick up the baby. He did, and tried to calm the newborn, who was wearing only a zip-up, one-piece suit without a diaper.
Just then, a woman drove up to ask if everything was OK, and Fuentes, still nonplussed, told her he had found a baby.
“She was as shocked as I was,” he said.
She told Fuentes that the heater in her car was on full blast, and suggested that the newborn be put in her car. The two unzipped the baby’s clothing, and discovered the umbilical cord.
The woman suggested they take the baby to her house, but Fuentes told her authorities were en route. Moments later, sheriff’s office SUVs, an ambulance and a firetruck arrived. The baby was taken to the hospital.
Hours later, Fuentes was still shaken, imagining what might have happened. In addition to cars that sometimes speed on the pitch-black Madera Ranchos streets, he thought of animals that roam the semi-rural area.
What if a coyote had found the infant first, he wondered.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at (559) 675-7770.
The Baby Safe Surrender program was established in Los Angeles County. The program allows a parent or legal guardian to confidentially handover an infant, 3 days old or younger, to any fire station, hospital or designated Safe Surrender site.
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