Newborn baby abandoned in New York nativity scene

Surveillance video footage reportedly showed a woman carrying the baby into the church and then leaving, just days before America celebrates its Thanksgiving holiday.

PTI| Last Updated: Nov 26, 2015, 03:38 AM IST

New York: A newborn baby boy who was just a few hours old and still with his umbilical cord attached was found abandoned in a Christmas nativity scene in a New York church, police have said.

A 60-year-old custodian found the infant wrapped in towels inside a manger at Holy Child Jesus Church in the borough of Queens after returning from his lunch break on Monday.

The boy was in good health and transferred by paramedics to a hospital, police and church officials said.

Parish vicar Christopher Heanue said the baby weighed five pounds, two ounces (2.3 kilos) and measured 17 inches (43 centimeters).

"The custodian said he placed a small empty manger in the nativity scene on the main stage facing the pews and left for lunch break at 11:30am," a police spokesman told AFP.

"No one else was outside the church at the time -- 1:10 pm he returns from lunch and immediately hears a baby crying. He observes a newborn baby wrapped in towels, the umbilical cord still attached and lying in the nativity scene manger."

Surveillance video footage reportedly showed a woman carrying the baby into the church and then leaving, just days before America celebrates its Thanksgiving holiday.

New York State law allows a parent to abandon a newborn baby during the first 30 days of its life -- anonymously and without fear of prosecution -- if the baby is left in a safe manner.

Charges can be waived if the infant is left with an appropriate person or in a suitable location and the parent promptly informs an appropriate person of its location.

A hospital, staffed police or fire station are listed as suitable locations. Police said they were investigating.

"Let us pray for this child, for his parents and for whomever will receive him into their home," the vicar wrote on Facebook.

Officials are not yet sure of the mother's identity and the child is being cared for at a hospital.