UPPER DARBY — Charges are pending against a teenage mother who abandoned her newborn daughter on the door step of an Upper Darby residence earlier this week.
Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said Friday afternoon that police have spoken with the 15-year-old girl, who allegedly admitted to leaving her hours-old infant wrapped in a blanket on a side entrance of a home in the 100 block of Englewood Road Tuesday morning. Endangering the welfare of a child charge will likely be filed in Juvenile Court, preventing police from publicly disclosing her name.
The girl and her parents were interviewed by police Friday at their headquarters.
“She takes full responsibility,” Chitwood said Friday afternoon, adding that the teen was scared from the experience. “The parents didn’t know she was pregnant. By the reaction of the parents, we believe that to be true.”
Police have identified a man believed to be the baby's father, but there are no criminal charges pending against him as the investigation continues.
“She did everything herself. He didn’t know anything about it,” added Chitwood.
Although not revealing the depth of the investigation led by detectives Ed Silberstein and Tom Thompson to find the mother, Chitwood said police did a lot of door-knocking in the Highland Park section of the township where the baby was found, and where the teenage mother lives.
According to Chitwood, the story started late Monday or early Tuesday when the baby was born inside the girl’s parent’s home. The baby’s umbilical cord was reportedly cut in the bathroom. In the morning, the baby was cleaned up and wrapped in a towel and blanket and was taken to the home on Englewood, where she was left alone in the summer heat. The baby was discovered by a resident in the home early Tuesday afternoon and the police were called.
The newborn girl was taken to Delaware County Memorial Hospital for treatment and was recovering very well that afternoon. Chitwood said Friday the baby has been placed into foster care.
Chitwood believed from the very beginning the person who left the baby must have been a child.
“That’s exactly what it was,” he said. “She was scared; she didn’t know what to do.”
Before knowing who left the baby, Chitwood said Tuesday that any criminal charges could have been avoided if the baby was surrendered to a hospital under the state’s Newborn Protection Act. Knowing the baby’s mother was only 15 years old, he said she was probably too young to know about that law.
“She should have, in hindsight, shared it with an adult then she wouldn’t have been in a predicament,” he said. “It’s a sad commentary on society, but in the end it was a tragedy that turned out well.”
The investigation is still ongoing in the case.