A homeless man passing by on his bicycle heard the child's cries just before 6 a.m. behind a small brick wall at the northwest corner of Hardwick Street and Lakewood Boulevard.
Stunned by the discovery, the homeless man picked up the baby, showed her to several of his homeless friends staying nearby, and then quickly took her to a fire station located down the street.
She was treated there by paramedics and taken to Miller Children's Hospital in stable condition.
Investigators were concerned about the mother's health and were urging her to seek medical attention. A 35-year-old woman later approached investigators saying she had witnessed the birth and helped the mother by cutting the umbilical cord. During questioning at the Lakewood Sheriff's Station, Special Victims Bureau detectives noticed the woman was bleeding.
"When she stood up from her seat there was blood on her chair," leading investigators to believe she was in fact the mother, although she denied giving birth, Deputy Mike Barraza of the Sheriff's Information Bureau said. The woman was taken to Long Beach Memorial Hospital to be medically treated for her bleeding, he said.
"At the hospital, the examining physician concluded she recently gave birth because the placenta and partial umbilical cord were still inside of her," Barraza said, adding that the woman was admitted to the hospital and was to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
Although DNA results are pending, detectives believe the woman is the mother of the newborn. Friends said the suspected mother was homeless and may have been living on the streets.
Under California law, babies may be dropped off at safe surrender sites, such as hospitals and fire stations, within the first 72 hours, with no questions asked.
The investigation is ongoing and the facts will be presented to the District Attorney's Office. Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at Lakewood Sheriff's Station at (562) 623-3500.