FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- The woman believed to be the mother of a newborn who was abandoned at a Federal Way church has turned herself in, Federal Way police said.
Police said the woman, who is in her 20s, turned herself in after she called police several times since media coverage of the incident began. Detective eventually convinced her to come in.
"She was concerned about the media coverage and wanted it to stop," said Cathy Shrock of the Federal Way Police Department.
Police said she is under investigation for second-degree child abandonment but she would not be arrested. They said the case would be turned over to the King County Prosecutor's Office.
Surveillance cameras showed a woman leaving the infant girl, believed to be about 12 hours old, outside Steel Lake Presbyterian Church at about 2:16 a.m. on Sunday.
JC Gumm was the first person to find the baby when she showed up at the church about six hours later for band practice. As Gumm was waiting for someone inside the church to let her in, she heard what sounded like a baby cooing.
"I came over here and I looked. I saw a towel and there was a baby right here. I said 'Oh no' the baby needs help," Gumm said.
Gumm dialed 911.
"I picked it up … and said ‘It's all right little one, the paramedics are coming,'" Gumm said.
Police arrived at the scene around 7:55 a.m., the Federal Way Police Department said.
Nurses at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma named the infant Autumn Doe, instead of the traditional Jane Doe, said hospital representative Gale Robinette. The infant weighs 5 pounds and is in very good shape with no signs of injury, Robinette said.
Police said it is not illegal to leave a newborn child at a church or other public location, but a child must be turned over to a qualified person.
Just six years ago, our state enacted the Newborn Safety Act which allows mothers to legally abandon healthy infants, less than 72 hours old. The baby can be left at a fire station or hospital, but must be left with a person and not just at a building.
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