A baby girl, thought to be only two days old and wrapped in pieces of a sheet and blanket, was abandoned on the porch of a Northwest Washington home yesterday, D.C. police reported.
The unidentified infant was found by Lester Lewis, 21, as he left his home at 311 Rock Creek Church Rd. NW for work at 6:55 a.m. yesterday. The girl, who weighed 6 pounds, 9 ounces, was taken to Children's Hospital where she was reported to be in good condition.
"I was flabbergasted," said Marlene Gibson, Lewis' aunt, who at first did not believe him when he said there was a baby on their porch couch. "We were both flabbergasted."
Nicknamed "Charity" by an emergency room nurse but named "Jane Doe" on medical forms, the little girl is reported to be the youngest infant abandoned in the District in recent memory, city officials said. About one infant a year is abandoned in the District, officials said.
"She's doing well and she's feeding well," said Dr. Anne Fletcher, director of Children's Hospital's nursery. "The nurses think the baby is just adorable."
Police officers and officials of the D.C. Department of Human Services spent part of yesterday afternoon knocking on doors in the neighborhood, just west of the U.S. Soldiers Home, to try to find the infant's parents, said Carolyn Smith, a supervisor with the department's child and family services division.
Smith said police and city officials lack leads on who the parents are. If they cannot find the natural parents, city officials will begin court hearings next week to have the infant placed in a temporary foster home, Smith said.
Gibson said Lewis spotted the infant while waiting for her to drive him to work at the Washington Convention Center. The two had walked out of the house together, but Gibson turned back to retrieve some forgotten checks, she said.
"He said, 'What is that over on the sofa?' " recalled Gibson, a warehouse manager for the General Services Administration at the Navy Yard. "He pulled the blanket back and said, 'It's a baby.' I told him to stop joking. And then I saw it, lying there, sucking on the sheet."
Gibson dialed 911, and police and an ambulance responded.
"I picked it up and held it close," said Twyla Geraci, a paramedic, one of the first to arrive on the scene, who carried the infant to Children's Hospital.
Doctors believe that whoever left the baby wanted her to survive because she was well-wrapped and her umbilical cord was cut and tied off appropriately with a shoelace, about five inches from the body.
But if the baby hadn't been fed or removed from the outdoor chill yesterday, she could have died, Fletcher said.
Gibson believes that the baby was left at her house because the tricycle of one of her grandchildren was on the porch. "They probably thought there was a baby here," she said.