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Woman gave baby to stranger and was arrested for child endangerment

Woman gave baby to stranger and was arrested for child endangerment
Posted at 3:42 PM, Mar 23, 2022

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Claudia Canales is still in disbelief over what happened to her at the intersection of Comanche and Coke streets in Corpus Christi Sunday night.

She says around 10:30 p.m. she saw a woman walking down the street holding a baby.

Canales thought the woman looked lost and confused, so she pulled her car up to the woman. That's when Canales said the woman handed the baby to her and asked her to take the 12-day old with her.

"I can’t believe someone would just give their baby up to a complete stranger without knowing anything about that person — not knowing if they’re ever going to see their baby again," Canales said. "It was so — it’s sad all around.”

Unbeknownst to the woman, Canales called police who questioned both women when they got there.

Officers eventually took the baby and arrested the mother on child endangerment charges.

She might have avoided arrest had she given up her baby lawfully through the Texas Child Safe Haven Act — better known as the Baby Moses Law.

“The law is very beneficial," Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Media Specialist John Lennan said. "If there’s a child that could be abused or neglected by the parent or caregiver, it gives that option where the child can be safely cared for in foster care.”

There are guidelines parents must follow to give up a child through the Baby Moses Law.

The child must be 60 days old or younger and free from abuse or neglect.

There are three locations in which a parent can leave their baby — any fire station, hospital, or emergency medical services station.

Parents can remain anonymous, but they need to physically give the baby to an employee who works at those locations.

The only questions they should anticipate are about their family's medical history and background, to ensure the baby gets the care they need.

“We don’t see them very often, but we do see them often enough to know that it’s a law that works," Lennan said. "And there are a lot of babies across the State of Texas that have been brought to us that are now safely being raised in a loving foster home."

Data from TDFPS shows that there has only been one Baby Moses Case in the 19 southernmost Texas counties since September and four statewide.

Years past have seen higher numbers including 21 cases across Texas in 2020.

Canales is hopeful that parents in that situation follow the proper guidelines and don't do what the woman did to her Sunday night.

“If anybody needs help, just reach out to the authorities," she said. "They’ll point them in the right direction. Just don’t give your baby to a stranger. It’s sad, and it’s dangerous. We never know who’s hands they’re going to fall into.”