A mother from New York City who left her newborn son at a Nativity scene inside a church has been found but will not face charges for the action.
The child was found crying and still had his umbilical cord attached. He was discovered by a custodian at the Holy Child Jesus Church in Queens, New York, wrapped in towels and placed in a manger in the church's Nativity scene, Reuters reports.
NBC 4 New York obtained footage from shortly before the child was dropped off at the church, which shows the woman entering a 99-cent store to buy several towels before she walked to the church about a half-mile away.
After investigators found and spoke to the mother, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said the mother appeared to be following the spirit of New York's safe haven law. The law permits the parent of a child up to 30 days old to leave the child in the care of an appropriate person, or in a designated "safe" location, such as a church or fire station, where the parent must first alert an appropriate authority, according to NBC 4 New York.
Because the baby was left alone and the mother did not appear to have notified anyone before leaving her child at the church, it was initially not clear if she would face charges. Authorities have since determined charges should not be filed.
"It appears that the mother, in this case, felt her newborn child would be found safely in the church and chose to place the baby in the manger because it was the warmest place," said Brown.
Jose Moran, the custodian who first discovered the baby boy, said that he was happy to help save the child but was heartbroken that the infant was left alone, NBC 4 New York reports.
The Rev. Christopher Heanue, a priest at the church, said it was a "beautiful thing" that the mother found a home for her child at the church.
"A young couple in our parish would love to adopt this child and keep this gift in our community. It would make a great Christmas miracle," Heanue said, according to Reuters.
The baby is healthy, but was taken to a nearby hospital to be evaluated.