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Abandoned newborn baby found at Sandy Beach

Published On: Apr 29 2013 10:10:24 AM HST
Updated On: Apr 29 2013 04:37:52 PM HST

u local/lwong

HONOLULU -

Authorities are investigating why a baby girl was found abandoned on a East Honolulu beach hours after birth.

State Department of Human Services Director Patricia McManaman says the newborn was abandoned immediately after birth.

Police say a 21-year-old woman found the abandoned baby at Sandy Beach overnight.

Between 11 p.m. Sunday and midnight, investigators say the woman was parked at a beach area at Sandy Beach Park when she heard several people screaming.

After the screaming stopped, about 15 minutes later, the woman heard a baby crying.

When the woman walked towards the ocean, she saw an infant on the sand.  She then took the infant to a medical facility.

Police did not have information on the age or gender of the child.  The woman who found the baby is not a suspect.

McManaman says the baby was born full term and was found naked.  She says the 8-pound newborn is doing well and drinking formula at a hospital.

Police have opened a reckless endangering and child abandonment case.

The penalty for endangering and child abandonment is up to one year in prison.

Rep. John Mizuno said he is extremely concerned with the news about the abandoned newborn baby girl.

"Perhaps the State must provide greater awareness and education to mothers, fathers, families, pregnant girls and women that a Baby Safe Haven law exists in Hawaii and that they have a safe place to turn to before making a life threatening decision," said Mizuno.  "Our people need to know that we have a vehicle for the safe relinquishment of unwanted newborns."

In 2007, Rep. Mizuno's first year in office, he introduced HB1830 (passed into law as Act 7), to save the lives of newborn babies from abandonment.  On July 10, 2007, Gov. Lingle with the stroke of a pen vetoed HB1830 the Baby Safe Haven bill aimed at saving the lives of newborn babies from abandonment.  A few hours later, both the House and Senate rallied in a Special Session to override the Governor's veto and thus Hawaii became the 48th State with a Baby Safe Haven law.

Act 7 provides immunity from prosecution for leaving an unharmed newborn baby at certain safe havens, such as a hospital, fire station, police station, or emergency medical services personnel, within 72 hours of birth.  The measure also provides immunity from liability for personnel at the safe havens receiving a newborn baby.

In 2007, after the veto override, first year lawmaker Mizuno provided the following press statement, "Government has a responsibility to ensure the safety of every single citizen and person in Hawaii and it is absolutely crucial for our government to do everything in its power to save and preserve their lives. This law is targeted at saving our newborn babies, the most vulnerable and innocent among us."

Mizuno added "Abandoned babies are a nationwide issue, and I am grateful for all the support we received in Hawaii from baby safe haven advocates from across the country."

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