A newborn abandoned in a Dallas apartment complex hallway is now in the custody of her father, who works as an Elvis impersonator.
A caseworker took the baby girl, nicknamed "Bella," to William Bynum's home Tuesday morning.
The 33-year-old man expressed his excitement about the placement on his MySpace page:
"I am a new daddy. Have a gorgeous baby girl named Rhiannon Bella Bynum," he wrote. "It's just her and I."
An apartment resident found the baby wrapped in a blanket on June 10 at the Cambridge Apartments in the 5900 block of East Northwest Highway.
The child's mother, Angela Castro, 33, came forward to claim the baby one week later. She was arrested on June 24 and charged with child endangerment, a second-degree felony. If Castro is convicted, she faces two to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Bynum said he and Castro dated on and off for 11 years. He said he, his friends and both of their families suspected she was pregnant, but Castro denied it.
"She always seemed so innocent," he said. "She said she had a thyroid problem, which she did. We didn't question it. We just assumed that's what it was."
Bynum said Castro told the same story to everyone, and he started to believe it.
Bynum said all that changed when he found out from police that their baby had been abandoned.
"Shock, awe and hurt, because she knows she could have told me," he said.
Bynum said he'll never understand how or why Castro abandoned their child.
"I felt a little anger," he said. "When we actually spoke, I let her know 11 years were out the door."
He contacted Child Protective Services as soon as he learned about his daughter, hoping to get full custody. For the past month, Bynum has only been able to see his daughter for two hours once a week.
"We are pleased to have a case where a father is so willing to take responsibility for his child," CPS spokeswoman Marissa Gonzales said in an e-mail. "We know he is glad to have her."
Gonzales said there will be a court hearing on July 30 to update the judge on the placement and to find out what the next steps are. Baby Bella is still legally in the state's custody, and it could take up to a year for Bynum to gain permanent custody.
"Having to explain this to her is going to be hard, but that's something I have a little time to think about," he said.
Bynum said his mother and grandmother will help him rear the baby.