Ohio Mother Leaves Newborn Baby Girl at Hospital

A healthy newborn girl was left at the local hospital, apparently abandoned by her mother under the state's safe haven law, police said.

The full-term infant, only a couple of hours old, was dropped off by a woman Tuesday shortly after 8 a.m. at the registration desk of Wooster Community Hospital, said police Lt. John Quicci.

The baby had to have her umbilical cord clamped at the emergency room but was otherwise healthy, Quicci said.

A 2001 Ohio law allows birth parents to drop off children 72 hours old or younger at a safe haven, including a hospital, fire department or police station, without criminal charges as long as the child has not be abused or neglected.

There are similar laws across the nation, meant to reduce the cases of newborns being abandoned in trash bins and other places where they are at risk of dying.

Robin Troyer, Wayne County Children Services interim executive director, said a juvenile court will have to have hearings to determine custody for the child, who was taken to the hospital's obstetrics unit.

Tuesday was the first time the safe haven law was used in Wooster, a rural community about 60 miles southwest of Cleveland, she said.

"If it keeps a child from being thrown away, its valuable," Troyer said.