Mother of abandoned baby charged

May 13, 2008 2:07:58 PM PDT
The New York Police Department says it has arrested a 31-year-old woman accused of abandoning her newborn daughter on Mother's Day.Police say Hua Zheng, of Queens, is charged with reckless endangerment, abandonment of a child and endangering the welfare of a child.

Zheng reportedly told nurses at Flushing Hospital that she could not take care of the child or take it back to China with her. Then, shortly after giving birth, she left the newborn on the doorstep of a woman she knew from church.

The baby is listed in stable condition at Flushing Hospital.

Police say a Queens resident heard crying outside her door on Sunday. She found the infant wrapped in a blanket alongside a diaper bag.

"New York's safe haven law allows a parent to leave a child not older than five days with an appropriate person or in a suitable location where the parent promptly notifies an appropriate person of the child's location.

The law contemplates two scenarios in which a child may be safely left: first, a child may be given personally to an appropriate person - such as a firefighter, a police officer, a doctor or a nurse, or even a family friend fit to care for the child. Or, second, a child may be left in a safe location and the parent must call or contact an appropriate person and tell them exactly where the child is.

In New York, there is a hotline where a parent who wishes to leave their child can call, and the child will be picked up by child care workers. The number is 1-877-796-HOPE. Above all, it is important that the baby be left with a person, not in an undisclosed location.

Authorities say Zheng admitted that she had become pregnant and subsequently told her husband that she had underwent an abortion. On May 9, 2008, however, she went into labor and went to New York Hospital Queens in order to deliver.

She allegedly told her husband that she was having complications from the abortion.

Upon her discharge from the hospital on May 11, 2008, Zheng took the baby home. However, before her husband returned home that day, she took the baby to Holly Avenue, to the home of her pastor, allegedly with the intent of abandoning the baby.

She left the infant between the doors without ringing the doorbell or verbally communicating with the pastor or any other occupant of the house. Zheng allegedly further admitted that she left the location without seeing anyone discover or retrieve the baby or, thereafter, notify the pastor or anyone else of the baby's whereabouts.

Doctors said the baby had a band around her wrist indicating her last name and her birth date.