Baby Jane Doe was only a few hours old when a janitor found her behind an Alpha Beta supermarket in Anaheim last November.
Wrapped in a small yellow blanket, she was tucked inside a plastic milk crate and placed beside a trash bin.
Today Baby Jane is "growing like a weed, all healthy and happy," said Robert Theemling, executive director of Orangewood Children's Home, the county's facility for abused or neglected children. But Anaheim police say they still have no leads as to the identity of the mother.
"What's odd about this (case) is that the mother hasn't come forward," Theemling said. "In Orange County, abandoned babies occur a couple of times a year and almost always the mother turns up. But this is unusual."
Someone--possibly the mother, police said--left the 7-pound, 9-ounce infant behind the supermarket on Brookhurst Street within two hours of birth on Nov. 21.
At 8 a.m. that Saturday, supermarket employee Don Moreno was loading produce behind the store when janitor Lauro Arellano came running from the loading dock.
"Lauro said he'd found a baby by the trash bin," Moreno said. "I went out there and saw this baby in a milk crate." The baby's head, face and hands were uncovered and cold, and she was still covered with blood.
While Arellano tended the baby, Moreno ran into the store and called police. Store clerk Cindy Broesder knelt beside the baby and placed the tiny hands in hers. "It was all I and the others could do to hold back the tears," she said.
The infant was treated for hypothermia at Martin Luther Hospital in Anaheim, where she quickly became the center of attention from nurses who said she was "gorgeous."
On Dec. 7, she was released from the hospital when a bed became available in Orangewood's infant nursery.
The incident prompted a Huntington Beach group called Mothers Against Child Abuse to offer the services of an attorney to whoever abandoned the infant.
"Our purpose is to let other parents know that there are compassionate groups out there that are willing to help," said Sally Nava Kanarek, a spokeswoman for the group. "There are times when parents want to abandon their babies, and we want them to know we're willing to help them. They don't have to abandon their children."
The group contacted several Spanish-language newspapers in Orange County and encouraged them to run notices and stories about the baby's plight.
But Kanarek suspects the mother may be very young herself and possibly illiterate.
"We distributed notices in the Spanish-speaking neighborhood near the Alpha Beta market offering our help. But we haven't heard anything," Kanarek said.
Meanwhile, the dark-eyed girl, believed to be of Latin descent, has been placed in the county's Early Placement of Children program, which allows for speedier processing and selection of foster parents. In cases like this, Theemling said, the county Social Services Agency tries to select foster parents who also want to adopt the baby.
"The whole idea is to get the children into a permanent place right up front rather than have them go through two or three different placements," Theemling said.
"We just want to find her a permanent home."