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Mother arrested after leaving toddler with stranger at Florida hospital, police say

Carolina Vizcarra, 33, faces charge of child abandonment

Carolina Vizcarra and her 2-year-old daughter.
Carolina Vizcarra and her 2-year-old daughter. (Miami-Dade Corrections & Rehabilitation/ City of Miami Police Department)

MIAMI – The mother of a young girl who was abandoned Tuesday at a Miami hospital has been located and arrested, authorities confirmed Wednesday morning to WPLG-TV.

Miami police said the woman, identified as Carolina Vizcarra, 33, left her 2-year-old daughter with an off-duty police officer on Tuesday, also handing him her daughter’s Social Security card and telling him she was going to the restroom at Mercy Hospital before walking away.

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According to the arrest report, the officer followed Vizcarra and told her, “You don’t have to do this.”

“Leave me alone,” Vizcarra said before leaving the hospital, the report stated.

“She hands off the child to this unknown man,” Miami police Officer Kenia Fallat said. “Luckily, he was a (Miami) police officer and what was going through his mind was (that) he went into police mode.

“He’s got this little girl that he is holding and he can only go so far and follow her,” Fallat said. “He immediately called for help.”

Police said a “Be On the Lookout” was issued, but the mother wasn’t immediately found.

According to the arrest report, Vizcarra called a detective around 5:40 p.m. Tuesday and said she was at the hospital looking for her baby girl and provided a description of her daughter’s clothing, which matched the description on the BOLO.

The report stated that three officers responded to the hospital and spoke with the mother, who spontaneously told one of them, “It’s not like I just left her. It’s a hospital and I was worried for her. I was thinking, ‘I am about to sleep on the streets, but not her.’”

Police in Miami search for toddlers parents

Vizcarra was arrested on a child abandonment charge.

Her daughter is in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Officials said a family member did come forward and they were working to verify the relationship before Vizcarra was eventually found. It’s unclear who will be granted custody of the girl.

Authorities said they are looking at hospital surveillance video.

“We want to know what her mental state was,” Fallat said. “We want to know what she was thinking when she was handing off her child to this unknown man.”

Under Florida’s Safe Haven Law, only newborns not more than a week old can be dropped off at a hospital, fire station or emergency medical services station anonymously without fear of prosecution.

Local 10 News reporter Annaliese Garcia contributed to this report.


About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the managing editor for Local10.com.

Bridgette Matter joined the Local 10 News team as a reporter in July 2021. Before moving to South Florida, she began her career in South Bend, Indiana and spent six years in Jacksonville as a reporter and weekend anchor.