FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — A newborn baby was discovered in the woods in Forsyth County Thursday night. Here's what we know:
- The girl is alive and well: Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman said it was "without a doubt divine intervention" that the child was found. She is at an area hospital and in good condition, he said.
- They're calling her India: Sheriff Freeman said they were assuming she'd be called Baby Jane Doe, but hospital staff quickly grew attached to her and wanted her to have a name. "I think it's fitting," he said.
- The identity of the mother is not known: Police are asking for help trying to locate the mother or any other family members. The sheriff also stressed that it's not even yet known if it was the mother who left the baby in the woods.
- She is described as either white or potentially Hispanic: The baby girl was born at full term, according to Freeman, and it's believed she was born on Wednesday.
- She was left in the woods in an isolated area: Part of what makes the baby's survival so miraculous is that she was left in a sparse area of a neighborhood off Daves Creek Rd. in Cumming. One of the only houses close enough to hear her cries was empty all evening, until the family that lived there returned home from a vacation and heard her. "You don't anticipate hearing a crying baby in the woods," Freeman said. "Thank God they went out and investigated that and immediately called 911."
- She was in a plastic bag: Freeman described the bag the baby was found in as a plastic shopping bag, the kind you'd be familiar with from a grocery store. He said it was "somewhat open" when the baby was found.
- The child is in the care of state family services and likely will be placed in a foster home: Georgia's Division of Family and Children Services now has responsibility for India. Freeman said she would "probably" be placed in foster care.
- An investigation is continuing: Freeman said deputies were canvassing the area looking for anything that might be connected to the baby or might give a hint about the identity of the mother.
- Someone could face charges: The sheriff said he didn't want to speculate about exactly what could happen once an individual responsible for leaving the baby in the woods is found, but said a number of charges, including abandonment or cruelty to children, are possible. He did say that police want to make sure they focus as much on "making sure the baby and family are taken care of" as on conducting a criminal investigation.
- Georgia has shield laws to prevent exactly this kind of situation: Freeman made a particular point of wanting to talk about Georgia's safe haven laws meant to prevent this kind of incident. Mothers have up to 30 days after the birth of a child to leave the infant with a hospital, fire station or law enforcement office, and they cannot be charged with abandonment.
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