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Infant recovering after found abandoned in Mansfield; community reacts

Police say a man left an infant, born around eight weeks early, on the hood of a woman's car and drove off.

MANSFIELD, Conn. — A premature newborn was found abandoned on the hood of a woman's car Thursday afternoon in Mansfield, shocking the small community.

"We lost a son a few hours after birth by natural causes so it’s extremely sad for me to see," said Linda Banning. 

Police say a woman called 9-1-1 after returning to her car on Pleasant Valley Road, which is right up the street from Willimantic. She said she saw a man leave the infant on the hood of her car and drove off in a dark-colored vehicle.

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Police say the newborn was born around eight weeks early and is now in the hospital in stable condition.

"It's disheartening and they could’ve went to a hospital and they just left it there so it’s unbelievable as to what happened," said Diana Pepin. 

"Everyone’s struggling. It’s so hard so I can see why somebody would be so stressed out but please, please, I wish they would’ve asked for help," said Banning. 

Dr. John Brancato from Connecticut Children's Hospital said it's a miracle the infant was found quickly and is alive.

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"There are obvious risks such as exposure of hypothermia and things like that, risk of bleeding occasionally, risks of infection and jaundice as well," said Dr. Brancato. 

This incident is drawing attention to the Connecticut Safe Haven Law which the Department of Children and Families (DCF) said allows parents to drop off a newborn 31 days old or younger at any hospital without any penalty of abandonment. 

"Forty-five children have come through the department by way of the Safe Haven Law. They can bring the child in, no questions asked, and the child can get medical treatment and make sure there’s no abuse or neglect," said Vannessa Dorantes, commissioner of DCF.

After being released from the hospital, abandoned children go into DCF custody and enter foster care until a permanent family can be found. 

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Community members said the incident is a reminder to check in on your neighbors. 

'We need to be cognizant of our surroundings and the people we come in contact with and we never know what their story is, so trying to give them support as much as possible and be kind to everybody," said Pepin. 

The investigation is still ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact police. 


Lindsey Kane is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at Lkane@fox61.com. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

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