Healthy Newborn Found In Portland Field – Neighbors Say Mother Is Mentally Ill

From KPTV.com, August 11 2008

A healthy, newborn girl has been taken into protective custody after she was found in a field Sunday, police said.

At about 10 a.m. Sunday, a man walking his dogs discovered the infant. A Portland Police Bureau spokesman said the man entered the field after his dogs wouldn’t stop barking and he heard what he thought might be a kitten.

The man found the baby girl and called for help, police said.

People who live in the area said the mother is mentally ill and lives on the streets.

Andrew Reuscher said he has seen the woman on a nearby street corner in recent months. He said she was obviously pregnant, but often drinking beer and asking him for cigarettes.

“It was hard to watch and it’s like (there was) nothing really I could do,” Reuscher said.

Other neighbors said the mother didn’t mean to abandon the girl; they said she went to find a water hose to get cleaned up before she touched the baby.

“She says she was screaming for help and no one came, so she just did it on her own,” said Dawn Blanchard, who knows the birth mother.

The baby was found near Northeast 102nd Avenue and Pacific Street near the Gateway Fred Meyer.

The mother could face charges, but some people who live in the area said she’s not the only one to blame.

“She was in a mental hospital and they released her knowing she was pregnant,” Blanchard said. “And I think they should’ve gotten her more help.”

To prevent unwanted newborns from being abandoned or killed, Oregon passed the Safe Place for Newborns law in 2001. The law allows a parent to leave an infant that is 30 days old or younger with an employee of a medical facility or law-enforcement agency — no questions asked, unless there are signs of abuse.

EXTRA – Witness: Homeless mom stayed near newborn before it was found, KATU.com August 11 2008