Swaddled in purple towels and with his umbilical cord still attached, the full-term newborn baby was crying alone in the manger when church custodian Jose Moran discovered him.
The nativity scene at the Holy Child Jesus Church in the New York borough of Richmond, Queens, had been finished only hours earlier. The 5lb infant was lying where the baby Jesus would be placed as part of the Christmas celebrations in a few weeks’ time.
Moran (60) had returned from lunch at 1pm and was continuing his daily duties when he discovered the abandoned baby:
“I was in the church sweeping,” he told the Daily News. “Then I hear a child crying. I didn’t make much of it. I thought there was somebody in the church with a child.”
“I looked around and didn’t see anyone,” he recalled. “That got me curious. I followed the cries. I walked to the little nativity home we had installed inside the church … I couldn’t believe my eyes. The baby was wrapped in towels. He still had his umbilical cord. He was next to the Virgin (Mary).”
“At least whoever abandoned him brought him to a safe place and didn’t leave him to die,” he said.
The baby was rushed to Jamaica Hospital where it was given a clean bill of health.
While there has already been more than one offer to adopt the child, police are currently searching for its mother.
Surveillance cameras at the church show a young woman entering with a baby and leaving the building empty handed, while cameras at a nearby 99 Cents store show the same woman buying similar towels to those found on the newborn baby.
According to New York’s Safe Haven laws, you can leave a baby, up to 30 days old, with any responsible person at a suitable location. As long as the baby has not been abused, the person may do so without fear of arrest or prosecution.