'Desperate' girl, 14, hands newborn to restaurant customer and flees

·2 min read

A 14-year-old handed her newborn baby to a complete stranger at a restaurant on Wednesday before fleeing the scene, with the act of desperation captured on CCTV footage.

The teenager walked into the El Patron in Jersey City, US, and told staff she had found the baby girl, local news station WABC reported.

Alease Scott and her boyfriend Walter Cocca were at the restaurant at the time and Ms Scott asked the young girl if she could check the baby's vitals.

After the teen handed over the baby, she ran out, leaving the child with Ms Scott and Mr Cocca.

Pictured is the teen mother walking into El Patron restaurant in New Jersey with her newborn baby
The 14-year-old told restaurant staff she had found the newborn, who still had part of its umbilical cord attached. Source: WABC

The 14-year-old girl has since been confirmed to be the child's mum, WABC reported.

Ms Scott said she noticed the infant still had part of the umbilical cord attached and was having difficulty breathing.

The pair called the police for help.

"Once I applied the oxygen mask to the baby, all of a sudden we heard the most beautiful cry and the baby started moving," Ms Scott told the news publication.

"She slightly opened up her eyes and then she closed her eyes but the sweetest thing was when she got hungry and she was trying to suckle on the oxygen mask so we knew she was OK after that."

Police have located the teen and both she and the baby are doing well. 

The newborn will be put up for adoption and the teenager is not facing any charges.

The state of New Jersey has the Safe Haven Infant Protection Act, which means people can give up an unwanted infant without being arrested and prosecuted. 

Pictured is kind stranger Alease Scott caring for the newborn baby.
Ms Scott said she and her boyfriend would love to be the baby's godparents. Source: WABC

"The parents - or someone acting on their behalf - can bring a baby less than 30 days old to any hospital emergency room, police station, fire station, ambulance, first aid, and rescue squads that are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week," the state's Department of Children and Families says on its website.

Ms Scott said she and her boyfriend would love to be the baby's godparents and she would be open to seeing the infant again.

"I'm just so happy I was there to help because she just was desperate and didn't know what to do, she was so young," Scott said.

Frankie Aguilar, the owner of the El Patron restaurant, says he is glad the mum came into the family-owned establishment for help.

He told WABC he hoped people would be more willing to help one another, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic.

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