More pregnancy-related breaking news while on the job. According to WSPA, the CBS affiliate in South Carolina, police have identified the mother who is accused of giving birth and leaving a baby in a toilet at the BiLo Center Friday night.
The infant was discovered by maintenance workers that were cleaning up after a circus held at the arena. One of them heard the baby whimpering, and then found it in the toilet. It appears the infant was about an hour and a half old and suffering from hypothermia.
“We don’t think it’s physically possible that the mother would not know she had given birth to this child,” says Sgt. Jason Rampey. “So we certainly think this child was abandoned purposely.” He also adds the child was “full term.”
Tonight police arrested the woman believed to be the baby’s mother. Jessica Ann Blackham, 24, has been charged with felony child abuse and unlawful neglect of a child. Blackham, who is married and has a 4-year-old child, has no previous record.
Police say Blackham attended the circus at the Bi-Lo Center Friday with a family member. At some point during the show, she went to the restroom and was gone for some time. That’s when officials believe she gave birth to the infant boy later found in the toilet by maintenance workers.
Police Chief Terri Wilfong says the mother went to a medical facility to get treatment after the child was born. Investigators say that’s how they found out she was the mother. Police say they aren’t charging her with attempted murder because the law requires proof of “depraved heart” and they didn’t have it.
The especially sad part of this story is that Daniel’s Law was established in South Carolina in 2000 and allows mothers to give up their newborns, if they take them to a designated “safe haven”. As long as the child is unharmed, the law protects the mother from prosecution.
The baby boy has been upgraded to stable condition and the Department of Social Services has custody.