New details emerge in child abandonment case

NEWAYGO COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - New information continues to emerge in a disturbing case of child abandonment.

The Newaygo County Sheriff's Office says a newborn was found on the side of the road around Diamond Lake in White Cloud around 10:30 Monday morning.

The infant and her mother, who is in her early teens, are in condition, but things could have been much worse. It's a case that is once again highlighting the importance of Michigan's Safe Haven law.

That law says you can drop an infant off, at any staffed emergency facility, any police, fire department or hospital for up to three days after the birth with no legal consequences.

Lawmakers say the Safe Haven laws have saved the lives of countless newborns, but incidents like Monday's still happen entirely too often.

Kathy Neal says her father was walking her dog, Bobby, when something made Bobby take her father along a different route than usual.

"He brought my dad right over here and when I came the infant was laying right here," said Kathy. "She was not wrapped up at all, she wasn't even cleaned up."

After calling 911, Neal says they weren't sure what to do.

"I picked her up, I cradled her, she started to cry, so we knew that she was somewhat ok," said Neal.

Neal says that's when her 14-year-old neighbor came walking out of her house directly across the street.

"She wanted to know what was going on," said Neal. "We told her we just found this infant and she says I can't believe that anybody would do that."

Neal says when EMTs arrived, it became clear that the infant belonged to the child.

"They started finding more evidence you know, all over the property, more blood spots and what not," said Neal.

"Did you ever see the moment when she finally said it's my baby?" asked Newschannel 3's Jared Werksma.

"No, that must have happened in the home," said Neal. "We had no clue until they brought her out on the stretcher and then we knew it was her.

"It's really sad," said Neal. "I mean, she's got a lot of neighbors that would help her. There was no reason to leave the baby laying right over here underneath the satellite dish."

Prosecutors tell Newschannel 3 that those who don't take advantage of the Safe Haven law open themselves up to charges up to and including murder if the child dies.

Once we learn whether or not charges will be filed in this case, we will let you know.