A baby who was left alone in the woods just one hour after she was born now has a forever family — thanks to deputies and residents who brought the child to safety nearly a year ago.
As of Wednesday, Nov. 29, the baby girl was officially adopted, Public Information Officer Brian Bruchey of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) in Winter Haven, confirmed to Fox News Digital.
"We have an exciting update to share with you," the PCSO posted on Facebook. "Nearly one year ago, on January 28th, at about 1:47 in the morning, PCSO deputies rescued an abandoned newborn baby girl in Mulberry."
"The girl was wrapped in a blanket, still attached to the placenta. The temperature outside was in the lower 50s, and members of Polk County Fire Rescue checked the girl out and determined that, based on the girl’s temperature, she had been born about an hour before she was found."
"Fortunately, a nearby resident heard the baby girl’s cries, and called 911."
The couple who adopted the child are declining interviews at this time — but they allowed police to share photos with everyone who followed the baby's story "and prayed for her well-being," the PCSO wrote on Facebook.
"We are thrilled to share with you these photos from this morning of this precious angel with her new mom and dad, along with PCSO's Detective Green and Sgt. Ryan," the post read.
In a Jan. 29 press conference, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told reporters some of the details surrounding the baby's abandonment.
He said deputies received a call shortly after 1:45 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28, about what sounded like "a baby crying outside" in a wooded area near the Regal Loop Mobile Home Park on Bailey Road in Mulberry, Fox News Digital previously reported.
The noises started late Friday into early Saturday, Judd said, when a neighbor heard what she thought was the sound of "some cats screaming and fighting."
The screaming subsided for roughly an hour and a half, until the woman "heard screaming and crying again."
"She went outside and said, ‘Well, that's a baby.’ So, she got her husband and the two of them searched around and out in the woods," Judd went on. "They found this infant, this beautiful baby girl."
Deputies arrived to find the baby girl on a hill wrapped in "some old blankets" in outdoor temperatures reaching the lower 50s.
Police estimated she had been born roughly an hour or so before she was found, and weighed about six-and-a-half pounds.
At the time, Judd had named her Angel Grace Lnu.
"She’s as beautiful as an angel. It’s by the grace of God she’s not dead and the Lnu [means] the last name is unknown," Judd said during the January press conference.
Judd said the baby appeared to be of Hispanic descent. Efforts to find the mother were deemed unsuccessful as investigators questioned neighbors for information, while the PCSO deployed a K-9 unit, a bloodhound, a drone and an aviation unit in the search for answers.
"Usually it’s a younger person who does not want the child or has somehow hidden the presence of the child from their parents," Judd said.
It’s an event that the department hasn't seen very often due to Florida's Safe Haven Law, Judd explained.
"You can legally take a baby a week or less in age to a fire station, EMS station or a hospital and hand it over anonymously and you have no criminal proceedings against you for child neglect or abandonment or anything like that," the sheriff added.
On Wednesday, the PCSO announced on Facebook that the girl's mother has never been located or identified, "despite an extensive effort" by detectives.
Now, 10 months and one day later, the child has officially been adopted, the PCSO shared.
The Florida Safe Haven Law was put in place to prevent the abandonment of newborns in the state, according to Clay County's official government website.
"The Safe Haven Law is a safety net that allows parents to leave their unharmed newborns, not more than a week old, at any Safe Haven facility recognized by state law, anonymously and without fear of prosecution," the site states.
Since 2000, when Safe Haven laws were enacted, there have been 376 babies "not abandoned in Florida" and left at Safe Haven (fire/EMS and hospitals), according to A Safe Haven for Newborns 501c3.
Every U.S. state has a Safe Haven law, according to the nonprofit, though each state varies by the following:
- Age limits
- The individuals who may surrender a child
- Circumstances required to relinquish an infant child
For more information, visit asafehavenfornewborns.com or call (877) 767-2229.
Stephanie Pagones contributed to this report.