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The Canadian Press

Saskatoon police issue plea for mother of abandoned baby to come forward

Canadian Press, various news media throughout Canada, February 4, 2007

SASKATOON (CP) - Police issued a plea Sunday for a mother to turn herself in after abandoning a newborn on the back step of a home in -29 C temperatures.

A spokesman for Saskatoon police said they are concerned about the mother's health and want to know the circumstances that led her to drop the baby girl off at the northwest Saskatoon home Saturday morning.

"We're waiting for the mom to come forward," said Acting Staff Sgt. Lyle Schmidt.

"Hopefully she'll turn herself in. She may not be well," Schmidt added.

Ed Anderson's dog began barking furiously at his back door around 10 a.m. Saturday morning.

As he opened the door to let the dog out, he discovered a tiny Caucasian baby, wrapped in a towel and sleeping bag, on his back step.

The little girl is described as a healthy, full-term baby who was just an hour old when she was found.

Anderson and his wife, a registered nurse, took the child inside and cleaned the child and warmed her up.

At a police news conference Sunday, police pleaded for the mother to come forward, and tried to reassure her they wouldn't put her in jail if she did.

"We have to take into consideration that we have, chances are, a very young mother here, a very scared new mom here who is probably confused and doesn't know what to do," said Alyson Edwards, a police spokeswoman.

While Edwards said that criminal charges were possible in cases like this, charges wouldn't even be considered until police determine the circumstances surrounding the child's abandonment.

For now, they're more concerned about the mother's health, Edwards emphasized.

"This girl, this woman, probably needs to seek medical attention, and that would be another concern of ours," Edwards said.

"We want to assure her that we aren't going to throw the handcuffs on her and throw her in jail. What we want to do is work with her to find out what happened," Edwards said.

Edwards said in an earlier interview that they had no plans to show the towel and sleeping bag the girl was found in to the media, to see if the articles may generate any tips from the public.

Police went door-to-door Saturday, Edwards said, to determine if anyone knew of a young mother who had recently given birth or who may have been pregnant.

Those inquiries continued Sunday.

"Maybe this girl had a friend who was aware of her pregnancy and is thinking that they're helping her by staying quiet," Edwards said. "We would encourage anyone with any information to come forward, because what we want to do is look after not only this baby, but the health and welfare of this mother," she said.

A search dog was brought in Saturday to try and figure out where the baby may have come from but that yielded no clues, Edwards said.

Unfortunately, stories of abandoned babies aren't rare in Canada, and more often they have tragic results.

Last November, a 16-year-old Quebec girl was charged with second-degree murder and several other offences after her newborn's body was found abandoned in a wood north of Montreal.

An autopsy indicated the baby was still alive when it was abandoned.

In an effort to find the mother of a baby boy found dead near Brantford, Ont., last summer, police released a heart-wrenching hand-written letter from the teenaged mother of the child, who came to be known as Baby Boy Parker.

In the Aug. 3, 2005 letter, the mother begs police not to tell the father of the child if they identify him through DNA tests.