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Teen Held in Abandoned Baby Case

January 26, 2002|LIZ KAY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Acting on tips from the public, police Friday arrested a 16-year-old Monrovia girl for allegedly leaving a newborn boy in a trash bin.

Police said they think the girl is the mother of the boy named "Baby Andrew" by the staff at Huntington Memorial Hospital. The teenager, whose name was not released because of her age, has been booked at Juvenile Hall on suspicion of attempted murder and child endangerment, police said.

The arrest took place on the day Baby Andrew was released from the hospital. A foster family that took him home plans to adopt him. However, a member of the child's family might be able to regain parental rights, said Patty Matesic, director of public affairs for the Department of Children and Family Services.

After receiving tips, detectives began focusing on the teenage girl, who lives near where the baby was found, police said. Detectives interviewed her at the police station, then arrested her.

About 10:50 p.m. Monday, a man taking out his trash heard what he thought was a kitten. He found the crying, hours-old infant wrapped in a plastic bag. The child had been dropped into the bin head first, said Andrea Stradling of Huntington Memorial Hospital.

The newborn was treated for skull fractures, hypothermia and dehydration, Stradling said.

"This is a tragedy that could have been avoided," Monrovia Police Chief Joseph Santoro said. Under a new state law, people can leave babies at hospitals without fear of prosecution.

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