RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Dozens of people mobbed a hospital in southeastern Brazil on Monday hoping to adopt or just catch a glimpse of a 2-month-old girl found abandoned in a plastic bag floating in a lake, authorities said.
The Odilion Behrens Municipal Hospital had received more than 100 offers to adopt the infant, a hospital spokeswoman said. Authorities said the baby had been released from the same hospital just hours before it was rescued from the lake.
Crowds have mobbed the hospital in Belo Horizonte, about 300 miles north of Rio de Janeiro, ever since the baby's rescue Saturday was filmed by an amateur video cameraman and broadcast on international television.
Minas Gerais state police Inspector Helcio Sa Bernandes said the baby's mother, arrested Sunday, had been charged with attempted homicide for putting the baby into the plastic bag, setting it on a board and pushing it into the lake.
The mother, Simone Cassiano da Silva, 27, has denied throwing the girl into the lake. She claimed she gave the baby to a group of homeless people because she did not have enough money to raise the child.
"I couldn't stay with her," da Silva told AP Television News. "I did not have a minimum psychological condition to stay with her ... I asked them to leave the baby in some place for me, because I did not want to see it."
But police discounted her story.
"That's just a lie to mislead the police," Bernardes said in a telephone interview.
The mother was arrested after workers at the maternity ward where the baby was brought told police the child was born there. The baby was premature and stayed in the maternity ward for two months.
On Saturday morning, the mother picked the baby up from the hospital and took a taxi to the lake, where the baby was later found, authorities said.
The mother was arrested by the police in front of her boyfriend's house carrying a bag and hailing a taxi. Police believe she was getting ready to run away.
The video footage broadcast first on Brazilian television and then worldwide showed rescuers using a tree branch to pull the black plastic bag out of the water. They opened the bag and found the girl wearing a pink dress.
"I heard what sounded like a cat," Jose da Cruz told Globo TV. "Then the noise was increasing and it caught my attention."
The wooden board attached to the bag apparently kept it from sinking in Pampulha lake in downtown Belo Horizonte.
Hospital officials said the baby was in good health and was expected to be released Monday. Officials hoped to turn her over to authorities because the crowds outside the hospital were interfering with hospital operations.