'I have to act fast:' Newspaper carrier recounts moment he discovered newborn in road

Vanessa Vasconcelos Image
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
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It was just after 4:30 a.m. Monday when the 21-year-old found the hours-old newborn in nothing but onesie pajamas.

MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's a moment that shook a newspaper carrier to his core.

"I see a bright white thing laying on the road I'm like is this an animal," said Aurelio Fuentes Jr.

He was two hours into his route, "I approached slowly next thing you know I see its red you can see the face I saw a face. It's a baby."

Spray paint on Avenue 13 1/2 in Madera leaves an eerie reminder of the rescue.

It was just after 4:30 a.m. Monday when the 21-year-old found the hours-old newborn in nothing but onesie pajamas.

"It could've been worse because out its pitch black its pitch black there could've been coyotes there's cars going by fast down that road," Fuentes Jr. said.

Moments after calling 9-1-1 another driver waited with him, to help comfort the baby until an ambulance arrived.

The baby girl is being treated in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit here at Valley Children's. Once she is released from the hospital she will be placed in the custody of Madera County Social Services.

"It's a lot to take in its a lot I had my mind just I need to get rest and see this baby," Fuentes Jr. said.

"The baby was cold, but luckily she was discovered early enough that she'll make a full recovery," said Undersheriff Tyson Pogue with Madera County Sheriff's Office.

The investigation continues into how the newborn was left in the middle of the road and by who.

Investigators are now working with neighbors in the area tracking down surveillance video and a witness who's come forward saying he came into contact with the distraught mother before leaving her baby.

"This female got out of her car asked the man if he could help her and asked him to take her child," Undersheriff Pogue said.

That witness suggested taking the baby to a nearby staffed firehouse or hospital both considered safe surrender sites where they will take a baby no questions asked.

The mother was last seen in a small dark blue or gray SUV. Possibly a Hyundai or Kia, police say. She faces charges including felony child endangerment and they may even consider attempted murder.

Law enforcement officials say they want to use this case to remind everyone that California's Safely Surrendered Baby Law allows parents or persons with lawful custody to safely surrender an infant within 72 hours of birth, with no questions asked. Safe surrender sites are hospitals or other locations, typically fire stations. To find the nearest safe surrender site, call 1-877-222-9723 or visit this website to perform a zip code search.