A 9-year-old Indiana girl has discovered a newborn infant near a creek in her backyard. Police are still searching for the baby's mother.
The young girl, Elysia Laub, was playing in her backyard in rural Lowell, Indiana, July 11 when she heard crying, WLS reported. When the child went to investigate, she found the full-term baby girl wrapped in a black towel.
"She knew right away this was an infant and she ran to the house and summoned her mother, and her mother ran out right away and realized exactly what she had found," Lake County Sheriff John Buncich told WLS.
"And the mother took the infant home until the officers and medics arrived," Buncich added.
The baby, who was discovered around 10:45 a.m., was described as Caucasian with blondish brown hair. The child still had her umbilical cord and placenta attached when she was found, and appeared to have been left in the sun for a few hours or possibly overnight, according to WLS.
Elysia's mother, Heidi Laub, told NBC Chicago that she thought the baby was a robotic doll at first, and only realized it was a newborn upon taking a closer look.
"I saw pink legs kicking away," Heidi said. "I knew it was alive and I knew we had to do something. I could not second guess myself. I knew we had to get help."
The infant was reportedly sun burnt, naked, and had maggots on her placenta and umbilical cord.
She was taken to St. Anthony Hospital in Crown Point, Indiana, for examination and treatment and is expected to make a full recovery. She will be placed in a foster home after she is released from the hospital July 12.
The Lake County Sheriff's Department is still investigating the incident and searching for the infant's mother. Forensic evidence has reportedly been collected from the scene to try to determine exactly how old the infant is and when she was left in the backyard.
Police have dubbed the infant "Miracle Jane Doe" and the little girl who found her a "guardian angel."
"A miracle that the [9-year-old] was out there to find her," Buncich said, according to NBC.
Indiana has enacted safe haven legislation that allows parents to anonymously leave newborns at police stations, fire departments, and hospitals without fear of prosecution.