MANCHESTER, N.H. – A mother is facing a felony charge for leading police to her newborn baby in the woods “nearly an hour” after first sending officers to a different area, police said.
Officers responded to the West Side Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire at about 12:40 a.m. Monday after getting a report that a woman had given birth to a baby boy in the woods. It was 19 degrees at the time.
“Personnel searched the area where the mother of the baby directed them, however they were unable to locate the child,” Manchester police said in a statement. “After nearly an hour, the mother revealed the true location of the baby and led officers to the area.”
The baby was found on the floor of a tent with no clothes or blanket. He was treated by EMTs and rushed to a hospital. Police said his condition was improving.
“Had we not collectively located that little boy when we did and rendered the first aid that was rendered, I’m quite confident the child probably would have died in that tent,” said Manchester Police Chief Allen Aldenberg.
Twenty-six-year-old Alexandra Eckersley is charged with felony – reckless conduct, police said. She was arrested on an unrelated warrant from Concord District Court for endangering the welfare of a child, according to authorities.
“If you choose to live in the woods, this city, this police department, many city departments, do outreach at these camps daily, seven days a week. So if you choose to in the woods and you refuse our outreach, you refuse services, so be it, that’s your decision as an individual. But you don’t get to do this to a child. I don’t care what excuses I’m undoubtedly going to hear. I’m going to hear mental health, I’m going to hear substance abuse, I’m going to hear alcohol abuse, whatever it may be and I’m always sensitive to that. But when it comes to this, I lose my sensitivity, my compassion for those excuses,” said Aldenberg.
The search to find the baby was traumatic for first responders.
“We’ve got a great job but we’re regular people. We’re fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters, cousins,” said Manchester Fire District Chief Jon Starr. “It can’t help but affect you.”
New Hampshire does have a safe haven law, which means anyone in a similar situation can anonymously and safely drop off a newborn baby to a church, a hospital, a police station, or a fire station and the state would take custody.