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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Couple Hear 'Cats' Screaming in the Woods, Find Abandoned Newborn Baby Girl Instead

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Most people are familiar with the saying, “If you see something, say something,” but equally important is the ability to hear when something is wrong and act on that observation.

A woman in Mulberry, Florida, heard something in the wee hours on Jan. 28 and ended up saving a life because she couldn’t shake the feeling that the sound just wasn’t right.

At first, the woman thought she heard cats fighting in the woods outside a mobile home park, but after an hour the noise was persistent enough that she felt compelled to investigate — and thank God she did.

She and her husband worked together to pinpoint the location of the sound. There, in the dark, cold woods, was a newborn baby girl wrapped in old blankets.

“At about 1:47 am, deputies found the girl, wrapped in a blanket, on a small hill near the Regal Loop Mobile Home Park, just off of Bailey Road,” the Polk County Sheriff’s Office shared in a report on its website. “She was still attached to the placenta.

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“Polk County Fire Rescue medics estimated that the girl had (been) born approximately one hour before she was found, based on the infant’s body temperature.”

It had been in the low 50s when the baby had been abandoned, and the child could have fallen victim to a number of tragedies. Sheriff Grady Judd praised the couple’s intervention.

“Those people are heroes,” Judd said during an interview. “True heroes.”

“Thank God for neighbors who were inquisitive and said ‘That screaming is not right,’ and it’s coming from — not in the mobile home park, but out in the woods.”

“We don’t know if the child was born in the woods or if the child was taken to the woods after it was born,” he continued.

“That is still under investigation. But certainly, we saved this person from a homicide charge because had that child laid out there and died, then we would be talking about a murder investigation. Now we’re not.”

The infant was determined to be full-term, weighing 6 1/2 pounds and likely of Hispanic descent. Other than some bug bites, she was healthy and was taken to the hospital for further monitoring and care.

After the baby — who they named Angel Grace — was taken care of, deputies went door-to-door and used a K-9 unit, drone, aviation unit and a bloodhound to try to locate the mother. So far, no success on that front.

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“It was by the Grace of God that we found the abandoned baby girl when we did, before exposure to the cold or any animals caused her any harm,” Judd said, according to the office’s report. “She was left in an extremely vulnerable condition, but she’s a strong little girl, and it looks like she’s doing great.”

It’s a miracle for both child and mother that the baby was found when she was, and the sheriff’s office has taken the opportunity to remind locals of the state’s Safe Haven Law, which allows parents a “way out” without the potential of facing charges.

“The Polk County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind mothers about Florida’s Safe Haven Law, enacted in 2000, which allows for parents to leave their unharmed newborn child (under a week old) at any Safe Haven facility (hospitals or properly staffed EMS/Fire Station) anonymously, and without fear of prosecution,” the Polk County Sheriff’s Office shared in a comment on its post.

Many commented on the social media shares of the story to offer to take care of the baby, but the sheriff’s office stated that protocol dictates that the child be put in the care and custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families, which is where she will remain for the time being.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking