A newborn boy was found dead in a duffel bag at a Near North Chicago fire station early Saturday, the Chicago Police Department said.
“Officers were called to the station in the 1000 block of North Orleans Street at around 5 a.m. after firefighters found a baby boy just steps from the fire station,” ABC 7 reported.
By the time the baby was discovered, he had already died, according to police.
“If the baby was placed there alive, that baby froze to death. It’s Chicago. It gets cold at night. You can’t leave a baby out to the elements,” Dawn Geras of the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation commented.
It was not immediately known how long the baby was outside the building.
Geras noted that after years of advocating for the Safe Haven law and informing the community about it, she felt devastated.
“It makes me feel like I failed. There was one other woman out there who didn’t know about the law or how to use it, and because of that, there’s a dead baby on the door steps of a fire house. It shouldn’t happen,” she stated.
“They were so close to doing the right thing. Why didn’t they take that extra two steps,” she added.
The Illinois law says parents may give up a newborn for adoption by leaving it with employees at a designated safe place and there will be no questions asked, as long as the infant has not been injured and is under 30 days old.
The designated places are hospitals, emergency care locations, police stations, and staffed fire houses.
“Illinois’ Safe Haven law is a safe way for parents who make the difficult choice to give up a newborn for adoption,” Chicago Fire Media said in a social media post:
Illinois' Safe Haven law is a safe way for parents who make the difficult choice to give up a newborn for adoption. Handing over a newborn to a Firefighter or Paramedic directly at a firehouse can help facilitate the safest outcome. No questions asked and no judgment given.
— Chicago Fire Media (@CFDMedia) January 15, 2022
“Handing over a newborn to a Firefighter or Paramedic directly at a firehouse can help facilitate the safest outcome. No questions asked and no judgment given,” it continued. Now, advocates are hoping baby boxes could be a solution to situations such as the recent one:
On Monday, Chicago police were searching for the person who abandoned the infant in the bag outside the fire station, according to CBS Chicago.