Baby April continues to offer hope

April 4, 2008 5:01:06 PM PDT
They found her body two years ago Saturday in a landfill in Mount Kisco. They still don't know who she was, but they named her April. And what an impact she's had.

Westchester County set up a series of safe havens, where mothers could safely and anonymously drop off their unwanted infants.

Eyewitness News reporter Marcus Solis has more.

A stuffed animal and flowers were left for a newborn baby no one ever knew, but will never forget. She was named April Hope by those who discovered her body two years ago.

"It was a tragedy to have something like that happen down here," said Peter Scala, of the Mount Kisco Highway Department.

It was in the Mount Kisco Public Works facility that a worker made the awful discovery. An abandoned infant girl had been sucked into machinery used to clear debris from storm drains. She was less than 24 hours old.

The Center for Missing and Exploited Children has created this illustration suggesting what the child might look like today, as the search the baby's mother continues.

"There won't be a happy ending to this case," Mount Kisco Police Chief Steven Anderson said. "But I know, for the detectives, who worked on the case, they would appreciate closure."

The mystery of April hope may still be unsolved, but the incident sparked change. Westchester County launched a public awareness campaign, reminding mothers about New York's Safe Haven law.

The public service announcement, fliers and even bus ads have had an impact. Last year, there were no fatalities related to child abandonment. Of 192 calls for help, 64 were referred to agencies, five adoptions were arranged and three children were taken with no questions asked.

"It's a tremendously difficult time, and they have no one to go to," said Camille Murphy, of the Westchester County Office for Women. "They don't feel they have anyone to go to. This gives them someone to go to."

Which is what Father Steven Clark tried to convey during April hope's funeral mass.

"Hopefully, word has gotten out that they don't have to do something like this," Fr. Clark said. "A mother doesn't have to abandon the child."

It is a message of hope in an otherwise heartbreaking story.