An abandoned newborn girl was found alive in a plastic grocery bag in Georgia, ABC News reports.
Residents in Forsyth County found the baby along an isolated section of a road at around 10 p.m. last Thursday, Sheriff Ron Freeman said at a press conference on Friday. They had purportedly heard the baby cry and called 911.
“It was obvious that the baby was a newborn,” Freeman said. “We believe within hours of our discovery that the baby had been born.”
Deputies reportedly performed first aid on the girl when they arrived, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She was later taken to a hospital, where she was surprisingly determined to be in “good condition,” the sheriff said.
Now, law enforcement are searching for clues that might lead them to the identities of the baby’s parents.
“We want to understand and find out how this baby was abandoned,” Freeman said. “Thirty-two years, this is the first one I’ve had of an abandoned child in this manner.”
Alan Ragatz, whose three teenage daughters initially found the baby, told WSB-TV that he was initially skeptical when his children told him about their discovery.
“I said, ‘That’s got to be impossible. It’s a baby raccoon, deer or something,'” he said.
Ragatz’ daughters, however, were persistent, and, along with their father, eventually went back into the woods. The four said they ended up tracing the baby’s cry to a heap of leaves and sticks and a bath mat.
“We went down, pulled it up,” Ragatz explained. “There was a poor little baby wrapped in a plastic bag, and we called 911. She was alive. She was crying, so we figured that was a good sign. Could have been worse. The credit goes to my girls. They were the ones sticking with it.”
Freeman said that Georgia has laws that allow for the safe surrender of newborn children but did not confirm whether his office would press criminal charges against the girl’s parents if they’re located.
“Georgia Safe Haven Law allows a mother up to 30 days after the birth of an infant to drop that infant off at a hospital, a fire station, a police station, a sheriff’s station,” he said. “And as long as they turn it over to a person, a live human being, they cannot be charged with abandonment, cruelty to children. It is a way to make sure that a child like this is safely cared for.”
In the meantime, the girl — who has temporarily been named India — is in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services, Freeman said.