The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is seeking the public’s help with any information regarding the abandonment and endangerment of a newborn girl found buried alive near the Compton Creek.
At about 4 p.m. Friday, people called the sheriff’s Compton station to report hearing a baby crying at the Compton Creek, between 136th Street and Slater Avenue, said Sgt. Marvin Jaramilla of the sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau.
As deputies searched the area, they heard a baby’s muffled cry and located the child, described by deputies as either African American or Hispanic, and buried under pieces of asphalt and rubble inside a crevice located along the bike path, Jaramilla said.
“Deputies removed the pieces of asphalt and debris and rescued the baby from the crevice,” he said. “The baby was wrapped in what appeared to be a hospital a blanket and was cold to the touch. They checked her vital signs and called for paramedics.”
One of the sheriff’s deputies who saved her described the rescue to reporters, calling the child’s discovery “a miracle.”
“I knew what I was hearing as I (was) digging in the hole. I still didn’t believe it. It was more of a disbelief,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Colette said of his initial thoughts at the scene where the baby was found. “When I’m holding the baby, looking down on it, I’m going, `The baby’s fine, it’s going to be Ok.’”
Colette said he believes the rescue involved more than just the actions of the deputies. “I think the baby definitely had a touch of God that day,” he said.
“I can still picture the baby’s face as if I’m holding it right now,’’ Colette said.
“It was a miracle,’’ said the sheriff’s deputy, who is the father of two daughters.
He said he thought the baby may not have been found, if it hadn’t been crying as two sisters passed by the area between 136th Street and Slater Avenue and decided to call 911 after hearing the noise.
Sheriff Jim McDonnell, said “In this case, we’re extremely lucky.” The sheriff added that medical professionals have surmised the baby likely would not have survived the cold temperatures, if it had been left there overnight.
Sheriff’s Detective Jennifer Valenzuela, who was called to the scene that Friday, said she thinks everyone was a little surprised at how well the newborn was doing, when they saw her.
“She had a strong will to live …,’’ the detective said. “Somebody heard her cry and it was a loud cry, so, you know, it’s basically a miracle.’’
“As far as the mother, there (are) a lot of questions that are unanswered,’’ Valenzuela said. “We are pleading with the public. Someone needs to speak out.’’
Philip Browning, director of Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services, said the agency will be looking for a foster home for the girl.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe also called the girl’s rescue “a miracle” and said it “could have been an absolute tragedy, if it were not the quick-thinking actions of some concerned citizens and the incredible response of our sheriff’s department.’’
He noted that 16 babies have been turned in since the beginning of the year in conjunction with the Safe Surrender program.
Detectives from the department’s Special Victims Bureau asked anyone with information regarding the newborn to call them at (877) 710-5273.
The newborn, will remain at the hospital for observation until she is ready to go home with a foster family.
Officials also remind that when parents of newborns find themselves in difficult circumstances, and face the reality that they can not keep a child, there are options.
You can surrender your baby. A parent stuck in this difficult situation can safely surrender their baby at any hospital or fire station in Los Angeles County up to 72 hours after birth, no questions asked. For more information, call (877) 222-9723, or visit http://babysafela.org.