Newborn baby girl found abandoned in bushes, police say
NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF/Gray News) – A newborn baby is at the hospital after police said her mother left the child in some bushes.
South Carolina officials said 21-year-old Britney Wheatle, a J-1 Visa student from Jamaica, was charged with person who had charge/custody of child places child at risk/harms or abandons.
The baby was found by a woman named Robyn Cain who contacted the North Myrtle Beach Police Department around 6:18 p.m. Sunday.
Cain told responding officers she thought she heard an animal in the bushes when she realized it was a newborn baby girl lying in the dirt without clothes or a blanket.
“She was turned on her side. I don’t know if the mother put her on her back and she turned on her side. She was under the bush, not totally immersed under the bush. She was clean, but she was crying. She had a full head of black hair,” Cain said, describing when she first found the child.
Cain then rushed to Etta Allen’s home who quickly called 911.
“I was shocked. I could see her through my glass door holding that baby in a shirt. I was just shocked,” Allen said.
Officers said Cain told them she had seen a woman in the neighborhood who looked lost and needed to get to work.
Cain ended up taking the woman to work at Walmart. After dropping off the woman, she went on her daily walk, and that’s when she discovered the baby.
Officers followed the lead and drove to Walmart, where they said they located Wheatle. The 21-year-old then reportedly confessed to giving birth to the child and leaving her in the bushes.
The baby was taken to the NICU and is expected to survive. Officials said the baby is within a day old. It’s unclear how long she was left in the bushes.
Officer Patrick Wilkinson praised Cain for all the actions she took that day that saved the baby’s life.
“God was on our side. That day was on that baby’s side. And like I said, the real hero here is Miss Cain,” Wilkinson said. “Not only drove the suspect to Walmart unknowingly, being that good person as she is, but then located that baby and then called 911 immediately.”
Wheatle was booked on a $10,000 bond.
The South Carolina Department of Social Services is also investigating the case.
They released the following statement Monday afternoon: “DSS is aware of the infant in question as it was placed into emergency custody by law enforcement. The agency is working alongside local law enforcement in the investigation of this case, and there are no further updates that can be shared.”
At a news conference Monday, officials said they wanted to remind people about Daniel’s Law, which allows new parents to safely drop off a newborn at certain sites, such as a fire station or hospital, without fear of punishment by the law.
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