EAST SPARTA, Ohio -- Police are still looking for tips from the public to find out who left a newborn baby, with the umbilical cord still attached, in cold weather in East Sparta Monday morning.
It was about 44 degrees outside when a paramedic crew returning from a call spotted the basket containing the baby as they were backing into the fire station.
"Being that cold, she could have died from exposure," said Magnolia Police Chief Jeffrey Hagar. "This is a rural neighborhood, there are animals. Anything could have happened."
"Right now we are just following up on leads. We've only had a couple, we were hoping for more. As of right now, the two that we have, we haven't been able to contact," Hagar said.
Hagar said the nine-pound-baby was wearing a ‘onesie,’ a hat, and packed in towels. The newborn was taken to the hospital.
The baby was placed on top of a barrier lawn supported by a three-foot-high brick wall. The basket was located in an area that could not be seen very well when looking at the wall straight on.
"If you picture the ambulance backing up in there, they could see down [the side of] this wall. But if you are standing in front of it you would not see this basket," Hagar said.
Police believe the parents could be from another area and travelled to East Sparta, a rural town with a population of 800 people, to drop the baby off.
Ohio's Safe Haven Law allows parents to hand a baby off to a medical professional or police officer, no questions asked.
The baby cannot be anonymously abandoned.
"You have to turn the baby over personally, or physically," Hagar said.
Michael Vaccaro, chief legal counsel for the Stark County Children Services, said the baby will stay in the hospital for a few more days for observation, but she is in good health.
If they do not find her biological family, she will be placed up for adoption in about six months, Vaccaro said.
Anyone with information on who the baby is should call the Magnolia Police Department at (330) 866-9434.
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