NEWS

Abandoned baby found at Manitoba school

03/19/2012 02:08 EDT | Updated 05/19/2012 05:12 EDT

A woman in Portage la Prairie, Man., faces charges after an abandoned baby was found next to a local school.

The seven-month-old infant was discovered at Fort La Reine School at about 3:45 a.m. CT Saturday by a man riding a bicycle, according to RCMP.

The man heard a noise that sounded like a cat and when he checked to find what it was, he located the baby beside the steps of the school.

The baby was dressed only in a sleeper, RCMP said.

The man who discovered the infant told CBC News he was cycling home from work when he heard a loud noise.

His voice shaking, the man — who did not want to be identified — recalled seeing the baby girl, clad in pink pyjamas, screaming and lying alone in wet leaves beside the school steps.

The temperature in Portage la Prairie was around 10 C early Saturday morning, which is much warmer than usual for this time of year, when it would normally be slightly below 0 C.

The man covered the baby with his jacket and called police and paramedics. The child was transported to the local hospital and treated for exposure.

"She was treated for exposure to the cold, but I'm told other than that, she was in very good shape," RCMP Cpl. Miles Hiebert told CBC News.

Mother found intoxicated

RCMP searched the area and found a baby carriage. Not far away was an intoxicated woman who police determined was the baby's mother.

Dustin Peters, who knows the 28-year-old woman and lives near the school, said he saw the woman early that morning.

"She came walking out and staggered all over our yard, and around our car," he said.

The woman was arrested and is facing charges of abandoning a child and failing to provide the necessities of life. She has been released from police custody on a promise to appear in provincial court at a later date, RCMP said.

The woman's name was not released in order to protect the identity of the infant, who has since been placed in the care of Manitoba Child and Family Services.

The man who found the infant said he is upset and angry that a mother would leave a baby like that.

"She did what she had wanted to do, but that baby didn't have a choice … being put there, left there," he said. "Somebody needs to do a lot of growing up."

Portage la Prairie is located about 70 kilometres west of Winnipeg.

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