According to the Associated Press, a newborn baby girl was found abandoned on Sandy Beach in east Honolulu. The 8-pound baby appeared healthy and was “abandoned immediately after birth,” said Department of Human Services director Patricia McManaman.
An unidentified woman said that she was sitting in a parked car at the beach between 11 p.m. Sunday and midnight when she heard adults screaming. After the screaming subsided, she then heard a baby crying.
The woman went to investigate and found the naked infant on the sand. She then immediately took the baby to the hospital. Honolulu police are currently investigating the case as endangering the welfare of a minor and child abandonment.
At the Queen’s Medical Center, the baby was healthy and drinking formula. “We’re very grateful this child is alive and doing well,” said McManaman.
If the baby’s parents aren’t found, the Department of Human Services will file a petition asking for custody. Until the state asks for permission from the court on this coming Monday, a photo of the baby cannot be released.
Hawaii is one of 48 states with a baby safe haven law. This provides immunity from prosecution if the mother of a baby leaves an unharmed newborn within 72 hours of birth at a hospital, fire department, or other facility with emergency services.
In this case, authorities are considering the mother’s decision to leave the baby as abandonment, as the beach doesn’t qualify. Since the law was enacted in 2007, no one in the state has used it. To reach the baby safe haven hotline, call 800-494-3991.
The day after Keala Simeona, 21, of Honolulu, reported finding the abandoned newborn on the beach, police arrested her after discovering she is the mother.
She was officially arrested on Tuesday for filing a false police report. At this time, Police aren’t pursuing additional offenses. Simeona posted $250 bail and was released.
Hawaii’s safe haven law would have protected the 21-year-old if she had initally decided to leave her baby at the hospital within 72 hours of her birth. According to the State Department of Human Services, it is now up to Family Court to decide whether to return the baby to her family or if parental rights will be terminated.