Any number of circumstances could have prevented Forsyth County sheriff’s deputies from finding a baby abandoned in a wooded area Thursday night.
Sheriff Ron Freeman said the baby girl was left in a plastic shopping bag on an isolated stretch of Daves Creek Road in the southern part of the county. There was only one home nearby, and that family was away on a trip. They did not return until just before 10 p.m.
As they were unpacking their bags, a child heard what sounded like a baby crying, Freeman said. They called 911.
“It was divine intervention we found this child,” Freeman said during a news conference Friday.
Deputies performed first aid until the baby could be taken to an area hospital. While she has not been identified, hospital workers decided to call the baby India, rather than the standard baby Jane Doe. Freeman said he thought the temporary name was fitting.
She remains at the hospital and is stable Friday morning. A representative with the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services is acting as her advocate.
Homeowner Alan Ragetz told Channel 2 Action News he might never have gone into the woods to investigate if it wasn’t for his daughters’ persistence. He thought it was a wild animal wailing in the woods, but he went along when the girls grabbed their flashlights.
The sound was coming from a pile of leaves.
“We went down, pulled it up, there was a poor little baby wrapped in a plastic bag,” he said. “She was alive, she was crying, so we figured that was a good sign.”
Ragetz said the baby could not have been more than a few hours old.
Investigators with the sheriff’s major crimes unit is out canvassing the area Friday and is hoping to collect evidence from the scene. Freeman said they can only assume a mother placed the child there, but they are still considering other possibilities.
“We want to make sure that we understand how this happened,” he said. “We want to make sure that we deal with both the criminal investigation, as well as making sure that both the baby and the family that are related are taken care of from the standpoint that they need to be.”
He said he would not speculate on criminal charges until the investigation was complete
Freeman noted that Georgia has a “safe haven” law for babies like India, which allows unwanted babies to be dropped off at medical facilities or with public safety agencies without fear of prosecution.
“Georgia (law) provides you've got 30 days to do that, not to leave a baby in the woods,” he said.
The sheriff’s office is asking for the public’s help to identify the baby, who is white, and locate her mother. Anyone who knows a woman in the late stages of pregnancy who could have recently given birth is asked to contact investigators at 770-781-3087.
— Please return to AJC.com for updates.
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