The discovery of a newborn in a northeast Edmonton apartment building on Sunday has shocked its tenants.
James Cook, a resident of Sandlewood Place, said he discovered the baby girl in the laundry room on the fourth floor.
“It was scary to see. No mom, nobody around,” he said.
Cook said when he returned to the laundry room a short time later, someone in the building had called 911 and police were already on scene.
Police received a report Sunday afternoon that a newborn girl was found unattended at a multi-unit residence near 65 Street and 129 Avenue.
They are now looking for the baby’s mother — noting concerns about the health and wellbeing of the parent, as the baby was just a few days old.
“Despite canvassing the building and the neighbourhood and contacting local hospitals, police have been unable to locate the infant’s mother or anyone associated with the child and are hopeful the public can assist,” EPS said in a news release Monday.
Cook said he and other residents were shaken by the incident and are struggling for answers.
“People are in some terrible situations, but I don’t know. I can’t get any reason in my head why someone would have to do that,” Cook said.
Newborn abandonment is a reality in Edmonton, according to Gordon Self, chief mission and ethics officer at Covenant Health.
“It’s when these tragic events occur that people ask questions. They are wondering what contributes to abandonment?”
Self said that question is part of why Covenant Health brought in the Angel Cradle Service as a last option for individuals.
Angel Cradle is a space to facilitate safe abandonment of a newborn and can be found at two sites in Edmonton: the Grey Nuns and the Misericordia Hospital.
A delayed silent alarm alerts staff to a drop-off. The hospital will not try to find the parent and will call Children’s Services to find a permanent home for the baby.
“A parent, in a moment of desperation, with nowhere to turn or is, in some sense, vulnerable can leave the baby anonymously.
“Those are our last stop-gap to provide a way to augment the existing safety net.”
Since it was created in 2013, the Angel Cradle has been used just once in 2017 at the Grey Nuns Hospital.
“There’s a lot of reasons that may contribute to the abandonment of a newborn that is individually-based. But what we do know is that it does occur.
“The Angel Cradle is at the far end and only one small component.”
Self said he hopes individuals who may be struggling with a pregnancy reach out to services available at the hospital, social services or within the government.
“That includes both clinical medical assessment and care, as well as the necessary support, social support — social services that can help a person deliver safely in a safe environment.”
The baby was taken to hospital by EMS as a precaution and “is reportedly in good health,” police added. She’s being cared for by Alberta Children’s Services.
In a statement to Global News Tuesday, EPS said it is “…working closely with Children’s Services to prepare supports for when the mother is located.”
Anyone with information about the infant or the mother is asked to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone.
Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.
With files from Emily Mertz, Global News