Safe Haven advocates dealt recent disappointments

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 4:26 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - “Then I listened and a heard a little, “whaa.” And I yanked that bag open and I said oh my frickin’ god it’s a baby,” says April Nutall.

That’s how she described her reaction to finding a newborn baby in a dumpster in Hobbs, New Mexico two weeks ago.

The baby’s mother 18-year-old Alexis Avilia was seen on January 7, 2022 tossing the garbage sack wrapped newborn into a dumpster. That’s thanks to a surveillance camera located above the trash receptacle.

At her initial appearance, the judge in this case probably had the same reaction many people did. “The events for any human being a truly repulsive,” said Judge William Shoobridge during Avilia’s initial appearance in court. “They’re horrific. No one can condone this callus activity,” said the judge.

Avilia has plead not guilty to child abuse and attempted first degree murder. She has been placed on house arrest pending trial.

Then this past weekend, authorities in Chicago say the body of a newborn was found dead in a duffel bag outside a fire station in that city. It’s not clear if the baby was already dead when placed outside the station or if it died of exposure.

But the fact is both New Mexico and Illinois have a “Safe Haven Law”.

Nevada passed such a law back in 2001.

“It allows for those that don’t want a newborn child to take them to a place no questions asked,” says Adam Mayberry with Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District.

Mayberry shows us a “Safe Haven” kit which will help fire fighters meet a newborn’s needs prior to turning the child over to authorities.

St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center will be updating the kits to Truckee Meadows Fire Stations and say they will do the same for other “Safe Haven” providers upon request.

Other “Safe Haven” locations written into law include fire stations, police stations, hospitals, and locally REMSA.

The “Safe Haven” law states the infant has to be less than 30 days old and show no signs of abuse. Once the child is taken into custody local welfare agencies will make arraignments for eventual adoption provided the parent or parents do not report a missing infant.

The idea behind the law is to provide a safe place for the infant, as well as provide the parents a safe legal option to surrender their child.

Since the Nevada Law passed back in 2001 a total of 11 babies have been dropped off at Safe Haven locations statewide.

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