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Mother of newborn trapped in sewer was present for rescue, authorities conclude it was an accident and mother will not be charged

by | May 30, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

babyinpipe2On Monday we ran a story about the incredible two-hour rescue of a Chinese newborn found trapped in an L-shaped section of sewage pipe just below a squat toilet in a bathroom in an apartment in a province in eastern China. Initially, the China Daily reported that firefighters had responded to a call from a building resident who reported hearing a baby crying in the toilet on the fourth floor.

The baby became known as “Baby No. 59” — so named because of his incubator number in the hospital.

A lot has happened in two days, including the correction of various initial reports and more detail. It turned out that the mother was present for the entire time of the rescue (caught on video) and, in fact, had raised the initial alarm about the baby’s plight. However she denied being the baby’s mother, according to Tang.

“Police became suspicious when they found baby toys and blood-stained toilet paper in the 22-year-old woman’s rented room, in the building where Saturday’s rescue occurred in eastern China,“ Tang reported, based on a report from the state-run, Hangzhou-based newspaper Dushikuaibao. When confronted by police, the woman admitted she was the mother and police attributed her initial denial to being frightened.

“The woman told police she could not afford an abortion and secretly delivered the child Saturday afternoon in the toilet,” Tang reported. “She said she tried to catch the baby but he slipped into the sewer line and that she alerted her landlord of the trapped baby after she could not pull the child out, the state-run, Jinhua-based Zhezhong News said.”

“[A]uthorities have concluded it was an accident, meaning his unwed mother is unlikely to be criminally charged,” reported Didi Tang for the Associated Press.

On Wednesday the baby, who miraculously was mostly unharmed, was released to the parents of the 22-year-old mother who took him home. The state-run Jinhua Evening News reported that the baby’s mother remains under medical care. The baby weighed 6 pounds, 2.8 ounces at birth.

Tang added that the video of the rescue of Baby No. 59 “was shown on Chinese news programs and websites starting late Monday and picked up worldwide, prompting both horror and an outpouring of charity on behalf of the newborn. The mother’s reported confession raises questions about whether she intended to abandon the baby, while suggesting that she was desperate and did not know what to do.”

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Categories: China