A 6-year-old girl playing hide-and-seek with her grandmother found a newborn baby girl abandoned in a vacant lot next to her home.
Lilliana Williams-Rodriguez told her grandmother Thursday evening that she had found a doll in the bushes.
But Thelma Williams, 55, who has six children, knew right away the baby lying motionless in the weeds near a basketball hoop was no doll. She called 911 and wrapped the baby in clothing until firefighters arrived.
Police estimated the child was born an hour or two before she was discovered. The baby girl was taken to the hospital with a fever but was expected to recover.
The infant, partially wrapped in a black shirt, still had her umbilical cord attached, said police Sgt. Tom Connellan. Police weren't sure if she was born at the scene or brought there and abandoned. They were searching for the infant's mother.
The state's Abandoned Infant Protection law allows parents unable to care for their newborns to leave them, no questions asked, with a responsible person at a hospital, police station or fire station.
"Leaving the baby in the bushes like that — if the baby hadn't been found, it probably wouldn't have survived for long," Connellan said.
Williams said it was lucky her granddaughter asked her to play that evening. "It was a game of hide-and-go-seek that turned into a day of reckoning," she told The Post-Standard of Syracuse.