A newborn baby girl was found abandoned on a Hawaii beach shortly after she was born on Monday, prompting an investigation by local detectives.
Officials from Hawaii’s Department of Human Services said that the eight-pound baby was found crying at Honolulu’s Sandy Beach, and appeared to have been "abandoned immediately after birth," the Associated Press reports.
Police spokeswoman Michelle Yu said the unclothed infant was discovered between 11 p.m. Sunday and midnight by a 21-year-old woman parked near Sandy Beach who heard several people screaming, followed by the sound of a baby crying. The woman took the child to a local hospital, where the girl remains for observation. Police said the woman isn't a suspect at this time.
"I think first and foremost, we're happy to report that the female infant is doing quite well. She's drinking formula, weighs approximately 8 pounds," Patricia McManaman, the director of the Department of Human Services, told Hawaii News Now.
Jonathan Kamai, a Sandy Beach regular, said, "Just blessed that the child had an angel that came and helped her out. It would have to be something tragic for someone to just leave their newborn here. Just as a father, how somebody could actually just do that kind of stuff -- it's just crazy."
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Law enforcement sources said that an unidentified man claims to have seen a woman standing on a beach and screaming in pain. When he approached her, the woman said she had cut her foot on a nearby reef. Later, he reportedly saw another woman with a crying baby leaving the beach.
If no one comes forward to claim the abandoned newborn, the Department of Human Services said it will request to have the infant placed in foster custody. The baby’s Family Court hearing could occur as soon as next week.
The Honolulu Police Department said that endangering the welfare of a minor and child abandonment can result in up to one year in prison.
In 2007, Hawaii became the 48th state to adopt a version of the "Baby Safe Haven" law, which provides immunity from prosecution to anyone who surrenders an unharmed newborn within 72 hours of the child's birth at a hospital, fire station, police station, or with emergency medical service personnel.