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Police Search for Mom of Newborn Abandoned in Church Nativity Scene

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | November 25, 2015 1:47pm
 The newborn child was found in a Queen church's nativity scene and taken to hospital in good condition, police said.
The newborn child was found in a Queen church's nativity scene and taken to hospital in good condition, police said.
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Father Christopher Ryan Heanue

QUEENS — Police are looking for the mother of a newborn boy who was found with his umbilical cord still attached in the crèche of a Richmond Hill church's Nativity scene Monday, officials said.

The baby was discovered by a caretaker of the Holy Child Jesus Church, at 111-11 86th Ave. around 1:30 p.m.

Police canvassed the area around the church and found several surveillance videos showing a woman investigators believe is the baby’s mother, authorities said.

One of the videos, which has not been released, shows the woman walking into the church with the baby and exiting a few minutes later without it, police said.

Another video, from 99 Cents & Up Market, on the corner of Jamaica Avenue and 112th Street, one block away from the church, shows the same woman buying a towel.

A clerk at the store, who introduced himself as Zen, said by phone Wednesday morning that the woman came in about 1 p.m. on Monday with the baby tucked inside her coat.

“Another woman asked her: 'Is that a baby?,'" the clerk said. “And she said: 'Yes.'”

The clerk also said that the baby was placed on the woman's shoulder, "which seemed unusual." 

The woman appeared to be calm, according to the clerk.

The newborn boy was taken by ambulance to Jamaica Hospital after being found. Doctors said he was healthy, according to the NYPD.

Churches are considered safe havens in New York where a baby can be left, shielding a parent from prosecution. Anyone taking advantage of the law has to leave the newborn in someone's care.

Charges are unlikely to be brought in this case, sources said.

"As of now, we are looking to speak to her," a spokesman for the NYPD said Wednesday morning. 

Father Chrisopher Ryan Heanue of the Holy Child Jesus Church, said he saw it as a holiday miracle.

“The beautiful story is that that crèche really went up too early, it wasn’t supposed to be there,” he said.

“And this woman saw in this place a home for her son. It’s really remarkable.”

He also said he hopes the baby could be adopted by someone from the local community.

Chris McKniff, a spokesman for the city's Administration for Children’s Services, said it was too early to discuss whether that would be possible.

McKniff also said that while he can’t discuss this particular situation, usually in cases like that the agency looks for a foster care placement and eventually a permanent home, after first trying to find relatives who would be willing and able to care for the baby.