Woman faces prison time for dumping newborn baby in gas station trashcan

NYPD crime scene tape is seen at the site of a shooting at the corner of Marcus Garvey Blvd. and Pulaski Street in the Brooklyn borough of New York. | Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

Police arrested a California woman on suspicion of attempted murder and child abuse after a newborn was found abandoned in a trashcan inside of a Fullerton gas station restroom. 

The Fullerton Police Department announced Friday that they had located the woman through surveillance footage and information about a vehicle that authorities believed belonged to the suspect. 

Police served a search warrant in the early morning hours at the woman’s apartment complex on the 400 block of W. Orangethorpe Avenue before arresting the 25-year-old suspect. 

Around 3:35 p.m. on Thursday, the Fullerton Police Department responded to a call from a service station about an abandoned baby in the restroom, according to a press release. The officers performed lifesaving measures until the Fullerton Fire Department arrived and transported the child to a local hospital. 

The infant was reportedly in stable condition at the time of the press release.

The Fullerton Police Department did not immediately respond to The Christian Post’s request for comment.

In a statement, the police issued a reminder to the public about California’s Safely Surrendered Baby Law. Created in January 2001, the law allows parents or individuals with lawful custody to legally leave an infant at a public or private hospital, designated fire station or location the local County Board of Supervisors determines to be a safe surrender site. 

For identification purposes, a bracelet matching the one parents or guardians receive is placed on the baby in case the child is reclaimed. Parents who leave an infant at a safe surrender site have up to 14 days to reclaim the child. 

Fullerton Police spokesperson Sgt. Ryan O’Neil told The New York Post that the suspect's name is Venissa Maldonado. It is believed that the baby was hers, but it is unclear if Maldonado gave birth inside the restroom.

A similar case involving the discovery of an abandoned baby took place in Oklahoma. 

As CP reported, Associate Pastor Ed Skidmore of House of Prayer on Harris Street confirmed in an interview with CP in January that local police found the baby at the church, stating that the congregation was “heartbroken” by the news. 

“We’re pro-life from the moment of conception,” Skidmore said. “We support babies in the womb. We support our local pregnancy center. We support mothers. Our hearts have gone out to the dad, the mom, the baby. We are absolutely heartbroken.”

The pastor told CP that the Ardmore police had informed him that the mother who left the child called the authorities to alert them that the baby was in the dumpster. The baby was several weeks old, according to what police officers told Skidmore. 

Skidmore said that he doesn’t know the reason why the mother left her child and that his church, which consists of a congregation of 60 people, has never experienced anything like this in the eight years that he has been there. 

“I do know that we have a wonderful pregnancy center here in town that works with lots of women and provides many avenues of help for women that are pregnant that want to keep their baby,” he said.

“I don’t know any of the circumstances behind the situation … [but] I know this — in this world without Christ, the enemy will try to tell us that there are permanent solutions to temporary problems,” he said. “And when we are not surrounded by people that really care for us it can spin out of control really fast. But we were heartbroken [by the dumping of the baby].”

The spiritual leader at the small church in Oklahoma said that he believed that the incident is a message from God to pray. 

“This is what I told my congregation. I don’t know if this was an area of town that she lived in, I don’t know. But I know that that baby was here so that we could be as a body praying specifically,” he said. “We just need to bind our hearts together to pray for the mom and dad and the child. We have a wonderful congregation. We’re just heartbroken that somebody was put in a position of hopelessness like that.”

In a January statement to WLBT 3, the Ardmore police said that the baby was found around 3 p.m. and was in stable condition at the time. Investigators did not provide any further details about the discovery. 

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follower her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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