A newborn baby was abandoned for possibly several hours in the backyard of a northwest Indiana home amid extremely hot temperatures Monday, police said.
The baby was discovered just before 11 a.m. by a 9-year-old girl, who found the infant in the backyard of her family’s home in the 18000 block of White Oak Avenue in Lowell, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
The newborn girl was wrapped in a black towel and had her umbilical cord and placenta still attached, the sheriff’s office said. Though it was not clear how long the baby was left outside, a preliminary investigation revealed she had been left for anywhere from several hours to one day, the sheriff's office said in a release.
"It’s obvious that this child, from the medical reports, was born just a few hours before it was found," said Sheriff John Buncich. "It could have been overnight."
Temperature highs reached to near 90 degrees Monday.
The infant was taken to St. Anthony’s Hospital for emergency medical treatment and is expected to make a full recovery. Buncich said the baby was being treated for sun burns, but was otherwise a "healthy young girl."
Heidi Laub said her 9-year-old daughter Elysia Laub found the infant in a rural area near a creek in their backyard.
"I just saw pink legs kicking away," Elysia Laub told NBC Chicago. "I knew it was alive and I knew we had something. I could not second guess myself. I knew we had to get help."
She alerted her mom who went outside and grabbed the child before the pair called 911.
Heidi Laub said the baby was naked, crying, sun burned and had maggots on the placenta and umbilical cord.
"I thought it was a robotic doll. Then I ran to the baby and scooped it up and I said, 'Elysia run to the house and call 911 as soon as possible,'" Heidi Laub said. "I got to the house and we put one of our baby blankets around her."
Authorities searched the area for the infant’s mother but she has not yet been found, the sheriff’s office said. Forensic evidence was collected at the scene and an investigation was ongoing Monday afternoon.
Police dubbed the baby "Miracle Jane Doe" and said the Elysia Laub was her "guardian angel."
"A miracle that [the 9-year-old] was out there to find her," Buncich said.
Indiana does have a Safe Haven Law, which allows a person to give up an unwanted infant anonymously "without fear of arrest of prosecution," according to the Indiana Department of Child Services.
Anyone with information on the incident is being asked to call the Lake County Sheriff’s Department Report-a-Crime Hotline at (800) 750-2746.