Man lied about abandoned newborn at DeBary gas station, deputies say

Baby girl taken to Orlando hospital; mother questioned by deputies

DeBARY, Fla. - A man who reported that he found a newborn abandoned at a DeBary gas station was arrested Monday on charges of giving false information to law enforcement.

[AUDIO:  911 call in abandoned baby case | VIDEO: Scroll below for 1st appearance]

Ralph Garlick Jr., 53, initially told Volusia County deputies that he found the baby wrapped in newspaper outside the DeBary Food Mart on South Charles R. Beall Boulevard after hearing the girl's cries.

Deputies said the umbilical cord, possibly tied off with a shoe string, was still attached to the child, who was taken by ambulance to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando. Deputies said the newborn appeared to be in good condition, despite the cold temperatures Monday morning.

According to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office, Garlick first identified himself to deputies as Charles Garlick, using the name of his dead brother. After questioning, however, Garlick admitted lying to deputies about his name and the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Although he's not the father, Garlick said his girlfriend is the child's mother, adding that she gave birth early Monday at an apartment complex in Orange City, according to deputies.

Garlick said he was trying to take the baby to a safe location because his girlfriend didn't want to keep the child, according to deputies.

Garlick later flagged down a newspaper deliveryman, who called 911 after Garlick told him that he found the baby outside the gas station. 

"I just don't understand how somebody could leave a baby in this weather," said newspaper deliveryman Anthony Ackeridge.

Garlick was arrested on charges of knowingly giving false information to law enforcement during an investigation and resisting an officer without violence.  He was taken to the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach and will be held on $5,000 bond.

Garlick made his first court appearance Monday afternoon, where he tried to explain what he had done to the judge. 

"That infant wasn't found in front of the store," he said. "I was trying to get that infant to somewhere safe."

The judge cut him off and sent him back to the jail.

The baby's mother was taken to Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford, where investigators were interviewing her to get her side of the story.

Once medically cleared, the baby will be turned over to the Florida Department of Children and Families.

In the state of Florida, safe haven laws allow birth parents to safely surrender a newborn (up to 7 days old) at attended fire or EMS stations and hospitals.  Infants left at those locations are directly placed with approved adoptive parents through private agencies.

[VIDEO:  Local 6 reporter Sheli Muniz's initial report]

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