‘I was really shocked’: Community reacts after abandoned baby found at Memphis apartment complex

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 9:38 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis police say they responded to a call about an abandoned baby at the Red Oaks Apartments in Binghampton around 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Neighbors say teenage girls playing outside discovered the child on the ground, wearing only a piece of cloth around his bottom. The temperature outside was a brisk 56 degrees.

“I was really shocked!” said Edison Hagan, whose girlfriend’s mother lives in the complex. “It’s really cold out here and it’s the holidays. It’s a shame to hear that.”

The Memphis Police Department says the newborn baby boy was found on a sidewalk in a breezeway.

“Just thank God somebody found the baby and the baby is safe,” Hagan told Action News 5. Tennessee’s Safe Haven law allows mothers of newborns to surrender their child at a designated facility within two weeks of giving birth without fear of prosecution. Designated facilities include hospitals, birthing centers, health departments, clinics, and police and fire stations.

All designated facilities, like the Memphis firehouse on Union Avenue in Midtown, display a yellow “Safe Haven” sign.

Karen Harrell with Porter-Leath says assistance is available from multiple agencies for nervous mothers-to-be.

“My first advice is to ask for help,” Harrell said. And if she is in an emergency situation, is trying to make a decision, we can connect her with an organization or individual that can hold her hand and walk her through that process. Just call 901-577-2500.”

Agape Child Services is another resource.

“It’s for moms and fathers if they need to talk to someone, or if they’re weighing their options and not sure what the next step is,” said Brittney Ragin with Agape. No commitment is necessary. You can call any of the agencies and talk with a caseworker, talk through potential options. You can even look at adoptive families. If you do decide to adopt, you get a voice in which family you think would be best for your child.”

In Binghampton, Memphis police searched for and located the child’s mother a few hours after they arrived on the scene. Investigators say the baby is healthy. He was checked out at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and is doing fine. His mother is ok also.

The Memphis Police Department says no charges will be filed. More details are expected to be released Thursday.

“Put yourself in her shoes,” said Hagan. “Don’t be so hard. You know, it’s Christmas. Pray for her, the child, and everybody else involved, the grandparents, the father, whoever that may be. Just pray for everybody.”

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