NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla.- Deputies say they've found the mother of a baby discovered dead in a wooded area in North Fort Myers. They aren't identifying the woman yet, but some people are speaking out tonight, saying this didn't have to happen.
Lee County Sheriff's Office tells us the baby was a full-term newborn, as detectives continue to work the death investigation. Tonight, leaders of Florida's Safe Haven Law are reminding women everywhere that they have options, and abandoning a baby should never be one of them.
"I've just been sick. I've been very sick. No baby should be thrown away," Suncoast Estates resident Linda Murray said Saturday.
Residents in the North Fort Myers community are shocked after a dead baby was discovered in a heavily wooded lot Friday afternoon. A man stumbled upon the infant, telling neighbors it was wrapped in a plastic bag.
"He was out here looking for his cat or something, looking to see if his cat was ok. Then I guess he lifted up a bag and seen the baby's head. He said he didn't want to go no further so he threw down the bag and he went and called the cops," Suncoast Estates resident Derek Moore said Saturday.
Organizers with Florida's Safe Haven for Infants Program say there's no excuse for such a crime.
"When we hear stories, see stories like this...it breaks our heart. It doesn't have to happen," Safe Haven for Infants Program Founder Nick Silverio said.
The Safe Haven Law was enacted in Florida in 2000 to create a safety net for women, unable to care for a child. Under state law, a baby under the age of one week can be left at a fire station or hospital anonymously, with no questions asked.
"We work with all the hospitals and fire stations in the state. They are all trained, they are all compassionate," Silverio said Saturday.
Since inception, the program's provided a safe haven for ten babies in Lee and Charlotte County, and 151 statewide. But tonight the program mourns the loss of one little life, taken away from the world far too soon.
"It was created because babies were being left in bags in fields, and dumpsters and canals. Because mom's thought there was no other alternative. Now there is one," Silverio said.
At this point in time, detectives aren't disclosing the name of the baby's mother. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the child's cause of death.