Safe Haven Law would have protected infant abandoned in truck bed

Safe Haven Law in place to protect babies from similar incidents, expert says

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Police in the state Capitol are still looking for answers after an infant was found abandoned in the bed of a pickup truck last Saturday.

The Tallahassee Police Department is currently investigating the case to identify who abandoned the baby in the truck.

On Saturday, the abandoned baby boy was found in the bed of a pickup truck in an apartment complex three miles from the Capitol. Authorities said the boy appeared to be about 1-week-old and is now being cared for at a local hospital.

Mike Watkins, with Big Bend Community Based Care, will take custody of the infant once he’s released.

“We average about 15 of these cases that are documented per year, and that's across the entire state, so it's a pretty rare occurrence,” Watkins said.

He said incidents like this are the reason why every state has adopted what are known as Safe Haven Laws. Using his math, he said more than 250 infants have been safely dropped off since the law took effect in 2000.

“Whenever you have young persons that don't have the information, I think that's our biggest challenge," he said. "I's going to be OK. For the baby's sake, we want to give them every fighting chance.”

Under the law, infants can be safely left at a hospital, police department or even a fire station.

Persons can do that anonymously without any criminal retribution," Watkins said. "In this particular case, the child was young, but obviously didn't make it to one of those dedicated stops.”

The infants dropped in safe zones are usually quickly adopted.

“There are loving people in our state, in our community, that will care for and love that child," Watkins said. "It's going to be OK. Their life is not ruined.”

The Department of Children and Families said it doesn't keep track of how many are infants are abandoned improperly.

For more information about Florida Safe Haven Laws, call 888-510-BABY.