PASADENA, Md. — A Maryland mother is behind bars after a local pastor found an abandoned baby on the side of the road on Independence Day.
Raymond Showell of Gethsemane Church of God told the Capital Gazette on Sunday that he and his wife were traveling home from church late Saturday night, not long before midnight, when something alongside the road caught their eye.
“I was working on my sermon and coming home from my church and as I was coming down Druid Hill Avenue, I saw a package or something,” he explained. “The closer we got I thought it was a bassinet or a car seat.”
When Showell approached that car seat, he saw that someone was inside of it—a baby girl estimated at being no older than three months.
“Oh, no they didn’t,” the pastor thought.
The infant began to cry as Showell and his wife parked and exited the vehicle.
“Oh, yes they did,” he said to himself and called 911.
Police arrived minutes later and the baby was transported to a local hospital where she was treated for dehydration. The Anne Arundel County Police Department soon also posted a photo of the baby online in hopes of locating the parents.
On Sunday morning, 26-year-old Sandra McClary called police, claiming that the child’s father was supposed to have been watching the baby and that she didn’t know where either one of them were located. However, after authorities investigated the matter further, they determined that it was instead McClary who had left the infant along the side of the road.
McClary was then arrested and charged with child neglect and reckless endangerment of a child. She remains behind bars on $500,000 bail.
“We are very fortunate that the child was not injured and is now safe,” police spokesman Lt. T.J. Smith told reporters.
He said that Maryland has a safe haven law, which allows mothers to anonymously leave their babies at certain locations without criminal prosecution.
“You can leave a child at a fire station, hospital or church,” Smith stated. “Not on the side of the road.”
However, the Department of Health and Human Services says that the law only applies to infants up to ten days old.
“I’m just glad the Lord allowed me to come by and nothing dangerous happened to the child,” Showell said.
As previously reported, a similar story unfolded last fall when a California man who was looking for recyclables in the trash spotted a newborn baby in the dumpster outside of a local apartment building. As he called for help, a couple rushed over to find a newborn baby girl with her umbilical cord still attached.
“She was cold and she wasn’t really moving, but as soon as I was rubbing her and getting her warmed up, she gasped for air and cried,” rescuer Annette Alvarez told reporter. “I think she was going to die if we had not found her.”
“Nobody having a child — [if] you don’t want it, take it somewhere, knock on somebody’s door,’” Alvarez’ husband Jimmy said.