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Escondido Pastor Finds Baby Left in the Back Seat of His Car

December 27, 1985|ARMANDO ACUNA | Times Staff Writer

ESCONDIDO — The Rev. Charles Keturakat has had his share of surprises during his 39 years as a minister, but none will surpass what he found in the back seat of his car Thursday afternoon: a sleeping baby girl not more than 3 days old.

No one knows how long the infant was back there, but Keturakat, senior pastor at Grace Lutheran Church here, estimates it was no longer than an hour.

"She was in excellent condition," said a bemused Keturakat. "She was clean and dressed in a pretty lavender . . . sleeper."

The child was turned over to the county's Child Protective Services unit and Escondido police have started a child-abandonment investigation.

Keturakat said he had just finished making the last of his routine visits at Palomar Hospital when he drove to his church office at about 11:30 a.m. He had recently obtained a car seat for one of his daughter's babies, who was due to arrive for a holiday visit Thursday afternoon.

Keturakat stayed at his office for about an hour, and he believes it was while he was inside that someone put the baby in the car seat.

He left the office and drove home, a distance of about four miles. But the pastor didn't notice the sleeping baby, who was covered with a blanket. "The baby didn't make a sound all the way home," Keturakat said.

After he arrived home, one of his other daughters, Karla Honeycutt of Santa Rosa, went out to the car. "She said, 'Hey, Dad there's a little baby in the car seat.' "

The pastor immediately called Palomar Hospital, thinking perhaps someone there had made a mistake and accidently placed the infant in the wrong car. Hospital officials said there were no missing babies.

Police were called, and the baby was checked at the hospital and found to be healthy. County officials then placed the infant in a Vista foster home.

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