The Safely Surrendered Baby Law responds to the increasing number of newborn infant deaths due to abandonment in unsafe locations. First created in January 2001, the Safely Surrendered Baby Law was signed permanently into state law in January 2006. The law’s intent is to save lives of newborn infants at risk of abandonment by encouraging parents or persons with lawful custody to safely surrender the infant within 72 hours of birth, with no questions asked.
From January 1, 2001, to July 30, 2013, 518 newborns have been surrendered in California, and as of July 31, 2013, 83 newborns have been surrendered in 2013. The Department is currently working to improve data gathering and statistics for abandoned infants in order monitor the effectiveness of the Safely Surrendered Baby Law in preventing infant abandonment.
On 10-14-2013, at about 7:24 am, deputies from the Thermal Station responded to the 65200 block of Cahuilla Street in Mecca regarding a deceased baby found at the location. The investigation found that it appears the baby was born and died at the location. The cause of death is pending.
Detectives from the Thermal Station and the Riverside Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit responded to the scene. An adult female, possibly the baby’s mother, was located at the scene. The female was transported to a local hospital for treatment. No arrests have been made in this case.
Detectives from the Central Homicide Unit and the Thermal Station continued with the investigation. Detectives identified the mother of the deceased child as Esmeralda Gonzalez Martinez, age 34 of Thermal. Martinez was arrested for voluntary manslaughter, and willful harm to a child. Martinez was booked into the jail in Indio.
This case is ongoing and anyone with information is encouraged to contact Investigator Loureiro from the Riverside Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit at 760-393-3524.
Dial 2-1-1 for information
Optional Medical Questionnaire
Although a person surrendering a baby under the Safely Surrendered Baby Law will be asked to complete a medical questionnaire, the form is optional and is intended solely for the purpose of collecting medical information critical to the health and survival of the child. Any information that may identify the person surrendering the baby will be removed in order to maintain that person’s confidentiality.
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