Cab driver delivers abandoned baby to firehouse

Sketch released of suspect
February 29, 2008 6:09:45 AM PST
Police have released a sketch of the man who left a baby in a livery cab Thursday.Eyewitness News reporter Nina Pineda has the story from Queens.

Police released the sketch of the last person seen with the baby in an effort to try and figure out who the little girl is. They say they are following all leads, including the scary theory that something tragic may have happened in order to separate such a well-cared for little girl from her parents.

She is at the age, 6 to 7 months old, when babies get extremely attached to the people who care for them. But apparently, whoever had her last wasn't attached to her.

Police say he ditched the baby in the backseat of a livery cab. He got in the car on 105th and 106th streets and said he had to go to Manhattan.

But then the man, in his 20s, said he had to make a phone call. He got out and never came back, leaving the precious bundle alone. The livery driver, Klever Sailema, took the baby to Engine 289, where she promptly turned a group of tough firefighters to mush.

"We brought the baby into the firehouse into the kitchen, where a couple of firefighters actually changed her diaper," FDNY Lieutenant Jimmy LoFaso said. "They all took care of her. There was a bag with the baby that had clothes, diapers, some formula, a bottle. You know, the baby was in very good, very happy, beautiful little girl."

"When we first looked at her, we were impressed about her condition," said Dr. Ken Berry, of St. John's Hospital. "She appeared to be in good condition. She had no obvious complaints."

They nicknamed her Lourdes at the hospital, where she continues to charm everyone.

"I think there's about 800 women in the building who want to take her home," one hospital employee said.

But no one will be adopting her until detectives figure out what happened to her own parents. Someone loved her enough to pierce her tiny ears and keep her well-fed, free of diaper rash and happy.

"It's a very sad event when you see marked on the chart, 'abandoned baby,'" Dr. Berry said. "On the other hand, it's a very joyful event when you look over and see her smiling at you."

Police ask anyone with information on the baby's parents to call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.