An Atlanta woman faces charges of cruelty to children for allegedly leaving her hours-old baby girl on a stranger’s front porch, police said.
The newborn was found crying and wrapped in a white blanket outside a home at around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to authorities.
Atlanta police identified the baby’s mother Wednesday afternoon as Doretha Burkes.
Burkes, 22, contacted the Atlanta Police Department to ask how the baby was doing after it was found and told officers that she was homeless and could not care for the child, police said in a statement.
She told officers that she did not know she could legally leave the baby at a safe haven location such as a hospital.
Investigators, however, learned that Burkes is not homeless and lives with her mother, who did not know about the pregnancy. Burkes gave birth to her daughter in secret and then left the baby on the porch of Freida Burston.
Burston told NBC affiliate WXIA in Atlanta that she usually sleeps through the night but that morning she woke up to get a glass of water when she heard a baby crying.
“God woke me up and said, ‘Go up front,'” she told the outlet. “So that’s how I went up front and saw the baby crying.”
Burston said the umbilical cord was still attached, and a first responder cut it on her living room couch before taking the baby away.
Police body camera video released by authorities showed an officer speaking with two emergency medical technicians as the baby cried in the background. One of the first responders told the officer the baby girl appeared to be only five hours old.
The baby was taken to the hospital and was said to be “in good health and had no signs of injury,” police spokesman Anthony Grant said earlier Wednesday.
Burkes is facing charges of misdemeanor reckless conduct, felony cruelty to children and felony providing false information to police.
Under the state’s Safe Haven law, mothers will not face criminal charges if they leave their baby with a worker at a police station, fire department, or hospital within 30 days of the birth. The mother can also remain anonymous.