NORTH LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The woman who claimed to have seen a baby being tossed from a moving car fabricated the story as a cover to abandon her newborn and hide an unwanted pregnancy from her family, authorities said Friday.
"It's not as horrible as we first thought," Broward County Sheriff Ken Jenne said. "The baby was never thrown out of a moving car. This is the case of a disturbed woman who gave birth and did not want to keep her child."
Jenne said the woman, identified as Patricia Pokriots, 38, kept her pregnancy a secret from her family and others, She had planned to take the baby to authorities, then built her story around seeing two people in a large white sedan arguing. "One story built upon the other," Jenne said.
The child was born Thursday afternoon, about an hour before being dropped off by Pokriots at a Broward sheriff's substation in North Lauderdale (search), about 15 miles northwest of Fort Lauderdale, Jenne said.
"She has indicated that she does not want the child," Jenne said.
Pokriots may face a charge of filing a false report, but has not been otherwise charged, Jenne said. She was committed for psychiatric evaluation under the Baker Act (search), which allows for people who are a threat to themselves or others to be held for 72 hours.
Pokriots is a barmaid and has an arrest record including an aggravated battery charge. "She said she may be a threat to herself," Jenne said.
The 8-pound, 2-ounce boy, whose umbilical cord was still attached, survived with minor injuries and was hospitalized in good condition Friday at Broward General Medical Center (search). Nurses at the hospital have nicknamed the child Johnny.
Jenne said county officials have been flooded with calls offering everything from teddy bears to college funds, and has even received requests to adopt the child.
"The one good thing that comes out of this is there is a great love for this child," Jenne said.
Pokriots originally told investigators she saw a man and woman arguing in a car, then witnessed the woman tossing the child from the passenger side of the vehicle. Eventually, investigators found inconsistencies in her story and she acknowledged Friday that she concocted the story. Jenne said.
State law allows a mother to take a baby to any medical facility or fire station within the first three days the baby is born without any questions asked.
"That provides parents or women with an option. You don't have to just abandon your child in way that would endanger his or her life," said Veda Coleman-Wright, a sheriff's office spokeswoman.