First responders stress importance of Safe Surrender program after newborn is found in street

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Spray paint on Avenue 13 1/2 in Madera County marks where two lives were forever changed that of an hours-old newborn given a second chance and the young man that found her.

"I approached slowly next thing you know I see its red you can see the face I saw a face. It's a baby," said Aurelio Fuentes Jr.

Fuentes Jr. was just 2 hours into his paper route when he was shaken to his core.

It was 4:30 a.m. Monday when the newspaper carrier found a baby girl in the middle of the road wearing nothing but a onesie.

"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.

Under Sheriff Tyson Pogue says the baby was discovered early enough that she'd make a full recovery.

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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.

First responders say the Safe Surrender Program was created to prevent situations like this.

"In addition to responding to emergencies that they have when we call 911, we are also a haven for infants and newborns," said Batallion Chief Bob Camp with Fresno Fire Department.

The law is intended to dissuade mothers, or anyone, from abandoning infants in unsafe places.

Under the law, parents can safely surrender a baby within 72 hours of childbirth, and protect from prosecution for child abandonment.

"They're not obligated to provide any information. And also we give them information of what's next for them in regards to their situation," Batallion Chief Camp said.

The packet includes an ID bracelet allowing the surrendering person 14 days to reclaim the baby.

The search continues for the mother, who is described as in her 20's last seen driving a small dark blue or gray SUV. Possibly a Hyundai or Kia.

The baby is being taken care of at Valley Children's Hospital and once released will be placed into the custody of Madera County Social Services.

Anyone who may have seen or heard anything is asked to contact the Madera County Sheriff's Office.
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