JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A baby girl was abandoned outside a vacant apartment in the Fort Caroline area on Wednesday afternoon, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Police said the baby was found in front of an apartment at the Huntington Apartments at 3333 Monument Road about 5:30 p.m. The apartment has been vacant since July, police said.
Officers said the baby was found only wrapped in a towel and was on the ground.
"I was horrified when the police officer came to the door," said Betsy Williams said, who lives one floor down from the apartment where the baby was. "You just can't imagine desperation like that, you just can't imagine that little baby laying somewhere."
Police said the baby girl is black, possibly biracial. According to medical staff, the baby appears to be full-term and was a couple hours old at the time she was found.
The baby is doing well and is currently at a local hospital, police said.
"It's one of those stories that touches your heart," said JSO spokeswoman Melissa Bujeda. "No one wants to see a baby abandoned. So we're just hoping someone out there is going to do the right thing, contact police and let us know exactly what happened."
Anyone with any information about the baby being abandoned is asked to call the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.
Florida's Safe Haven Law says a child 7 days old or younger can be left at a hospital, emergency medical services facility or a fire station without any recourse.
The law was passed in 2000. Since that time, 183 babies have been left at such facilities.
There's a fire station just a few miles from where the baby was left Wednesday where the child could have been dropped off, no questions asked.
That's something Channel 4 crime and safety analyst Ken Jefferson believes the family should have considered.
"Try to find another human being to leave the child with and set up the proper procedures for adoption or foster care," he said.
Now, it's possible the baby's mother could face criminal charges.
This is the third time a baby has been abandoned in Jacksonville since 2000. On July 20, 2007, a baby was left in a Dumpster at the Beachwood Apartments on the Southside. No one was ever arrested. On Oct 19, 2009, a baby was left in the trash at a church at 9000 Beach Blvd. Two people were arrested.
There is a confidential Safe Haven hotline: 877-767-2229.
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