CHICAGO (CBS) Chicago police on Monday were still searching for the person who abandoned a baby in a duffel bag outside a Near North Side fire station over the weekend.
Firefighters found the baby dead on Saturday.
With so many questions unanswered two days after police continued their investigation, CBS 2’s Tara Molina spoke to an organization that has been working to prevent this for years.
An infant is Leave in a duffel bag on Saturday outside firehouse at 1044 N. Orleans St. The firehouse door is clearly marked to show that it is a Safe Haven location.
But that only applies when there is direct contact and communication with personnel at the firehouse – which we were told did not happen.
There were no calls for help, and no bells outside the firehouse. According to the Chicago Fire Department, anyone who left the newborn baby boy in the duffle bag did nothing to reach those inside.
State law requires those who release infants to attempt to reach people inside. A law that has been in place for more than 20 years in Illinois allows a person to give up a newborn baby anonymously and with the protection of the law.
But when there is no employee neglect, it is outside the law and is considered illegal abandonment. In this case, it resulted in death.
Since the Safe Haven Act was passed in 2001, more than 145 babies have been taken to Safe Haven locations. More than 85 babies were illegally abandoned and more than half of them did not survive.
As for a camera pointed at the door of a firehouse, Chicago Police would not say if it worked or if it was part of their investigation.
We know firefighters were present when the baby was found early Saturday. It is unclear when the baby was left outside.
We have confirmed that the Orleans Street firehouse is the headquarters of the city’s Air Mask Service, where the Fire Department stores and maintains critical equipment – so we were told it often unmanned while staff service other stations.
That’s why face-to-face contact is part of the law, a spokesman said. But that’s not the case everywhere in the US
Children’s box show offers electronically monitored boxes that allow complete anonymity as part of Safe Haven laws in other states.
“A woman doesn’t have to face anyone,” says Monica Kelsey. Haven baby safe box. “It is heated. It’s cooled down. It locks when a child is placed inside. But the important part is the box that automatically calls 911.”
We showed you the boxes is being used in nearby Indiana, where 92 are now installed.
“Since we launched the infant boxes, we haven’t had a single infant death in our state,” says Kelsey.
Fourteen babies have been saved through boxes, and another 115 have been hand delivered since Kelsey – a retired firefighter and ambulance – started the program in 2016 just to provide an alternative. Final.
“The last option for moms, like this one from Chicago, obviously doesn’t want to see anyone; “And now we have a dead child and probably a mother who will spend the rest of her life in prison,” Kelsey said.
Currently, there are also boxes in Ohio, Kentucky, Arkansas, Florida and Arizona. So why not Illinois?
“We were trying to get the law passed in Illinois – and actually the people in Safe Haven who run Safe Haven education and awareness are completely against it,” Kelsey said.
Indeed, the Illinois Abandoned Infant Relief Foundation is against the use of boxes. The main reason is that they think physical contact is important.
Dawn Geras of Save Abandoned Infants in Illinois released part of the statement cited here, outlining why her organization believes baby boxes are a bad idea. :
“Adding Boxes to the Safe Haven program, while well-intentioned, was a mistake. It opens a Pandora’s box with unintended consequences. There is strong opposition to the idea of placing boxes in hospitals, police or fire stations.
“Some of those reasons are:
“1) Boxes eliminate the opportunity for the mother to receive medical care and support services. About 25% of parents who come to Safe Haven, intending to use Safe Haven Law, when given the opportunity to talk about options, choose to make an adoption or parenting plan.
“2) The box that deprives the child of any chance of personal contact with one person means that the parent is completely alone, contributing to the child’s fear. She doesn’t feel comfortable actually putting her baby in anyone’s arms. Instead, the idea that what she was doing was ‘bad’ and something she should be ashamed of was reinforced.
“3) Boxes create confusion as to where and what is considered a Safe and which is a Box. There are a lot of bad things that can happen. Imagine a mother goes to the hospital, looking for a Box, but the hospital doesn’t have one. She becomes frustrated, confused and leaves the baby, abandoned. Will the baby survive? The mother, who is bleeding, needs medical help that she does not receive. What happens when she is found bleeding to death?
“4) Many women are looking for a safe way to give birth in a hospital. Baby Boxes will upset hopes of a safe delivery by suggesting that her only option is to leave the baby in the Box.
“5) Many States offer an information pack for dropout parents. This package may provide a request for medical information and explain parental rights under the law. Using Boxes prevents parents from receiving this important information.
“6) The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has called for a ban on boxes in Europe and urged countries to provide family planning and other support to address the root causes of child abuse. abandoned, according to spokeswoman Elizabeth Throssell.
“7) Great concern comes from the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department and the New York City Police Department’s Special Operations Department known as Homeland Security. Even before 911, departments were seriously concerned about a pipe bomb being placed inside one of them by terrorists and causing catastrophic injury to doctors, hospital staff, and others. first aid. In today’s environment, we have seen attacks in Boston, California, New York and many other locations in the United States. If a terrorist carries out a coordinated attack on a hospital, police/fire station, critical first-aid individual will be killed or seriously injured. Indianapolis, Indiana Department of Homeland Security lists more than 8,500 potential terrorist targets. The “boxes” will be added to the list as a high-risk location, making them a “soft target” and driving up the cost of liability insurance in these locations.
“8) And the cost! Each box costs about $10,000 to build and install. There is also a monthly maintenance fee.
“9) Most hospitals, fire stations, and police stations are brick or stone buildings, making installation nearly impossible. These structures were built as the strongest structures in the vicinity. It would be extremely expensive to cut a hole in one of these buildings to place the Box in a prominent place where a woman in crisis could easily find it. Does the state have money for this?
“Instead, think about what that money could do if used wisely for an awareness campaign. How many more babies and mothers would be saved if all women were reached?
“Safe haven programs have saved more than 4,000 babies since they were conceived in 1999. This number is growing each year as more people learn about the law. What is needed are awareness campaigns NOT Baby Boxes. ”
So maybe a box provided a last resort in this case? Campaigners say we won’t know until the autopsy results are out.
Police said of the case late on Monday: “No one has been detained. The investigation is still ongoing. There are no updates available at this time. “