The manger of a church’s nativity scene is normally found with a life-like baby resembling the baby Jesus. But a church in New York City temporarily had a live baby in its manager when someone abandoned a newborn baby with his umbilical cord still attached and placed him int he manger of the nativity.
Now, New York City police are searching for whoever left the child.
According to news reports, a custodian at the Holy Child of Jesus Church in the Richmond Hill section of Queens left the empty chapel to get lunch. When he returned shortly after 1 p.m., he heard a baby crying, but saw no one else around. New York City police said the custodian turned to a nativity scene in the front of the church and saw a newborn baby wrapped in towels laying in the manger. Church pastor Christopher Heanue wrote on the church’s Facebook page that the baby was a boy and weighed a little more than 5 pounds.
Church officials contacted emergency personnel and they arrived on the scene and said the baby boy was in good health.
New York has a safe haven law saying the mother or parents of a newborn baby can dropped off anonymously at a church, hospital, police or fire station without fear of prosecution. But the law, the Abandoned Infant Protection Act, requires the child be left with someone or for authorities to be called immediately. Police said that didn’t happen in this case, which is why investigators are now searching for the person who dropped off the child at the church.
Fox News has more on the situation:
“The baby was found in the creche, a sort of manger scene where we would put the baby Jesus during Christmastime,” recalled the Rev. Christopher Heanue.
“The church is considered a safe haven for dropoffs,” he explained Tuesday. “The baby was brand new. He still had the umbilical cord attached. It’s a beautiful baby boy.”
The child was later taken to Jamaica Hospital, sources said.
Surveillance video from Holy Child shows a woman walking inside with a baby in her arms and then shows her leaving without it.
The custodian who found the child left the church for about an hour and had heard him crying when he returned, according to sources.
“There are families within the parish who have inquired as to adopting the baby already,” Heanue said. “They feel that he was left in the parish and should stay in the parish.”