Newborn found abandoned in rest stop restroom placed in foster care

Infant discovered in late December in Marion County

By Ryan Burkett - Producer

OCALA, Fla. - A newborn baby found abandoned in the women's restroom at a Marion County rest stop has been released from the hospital and is in foster care, the Department of Children and Families said.

The baby boy was found in late December at the rest stop along Interstate 75 near Ocala. Marion County detectives said they believe the mother gave birth and left the boy in the restroom.

The child's mother has not been identified or found.

DCF said the infant will remain in foster care until a judge issues a decision on his permanent placement.

After the boy's discovery, authorities issued a reminder about Florida's Safe Haven law.

"This law allows parents to leave their unharmed newborn babies, who are not more than one week old, with an employee at any hospital, emergency medical services station or with a firefighter at any fire station in Florida," the Marion County Sheriff's Office said in a news release.

More than 270 babies have been safely surrendered under Safe Haven laws since 2000, according to the Florida nonprofit, A Safe Haven for Newborns.

For more information about a Safe Haven for Newborns and a list of safe haven locations, visit the organization's website asafehavenfornewborns.com. A hotline is also available 24 hours a day in English and Spanish at 877-767-2229.

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