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Newborn found in shopping bag in church parking lot

Authorities in a Chicago suburb were searching Monday for the mother of a newborn girl found abandoned Sunday inside a recyclable grocery bag in a church parking lot.
/ Source: msnbc.com staff and news service reports

Authorities in a Chicago suburb were searching Monday for the mother of a newborn girl found abandoned Sunday inside a recyclable grocery bag in a church parking lot.

Members of the Gospel Presbyterian Church in Schaumburg, Ill., were heading to their vehicles after services on Sunday afternoon when members of one family discovered a green canvas bag on the hood of their car, the Schaumburg Police Department said.

They looked inside, saw a teddy bear and towel, and turned the bag over to church officials, assuming another member of the congregation had left it behind.

But when other church members heard crying coming from inside the bag, they took another look and found a 7-pound baby girl of Asian ethnicity tucked underneath the teddy bear and towel, Schaumburg police said.

The baby, a few days old and in good health, according to police, was transported to a local hospital for observation. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services will take custody of her once she has been released.

Illinois' so-called "safe haven" law allows parents to give up their newborn infants — no questions asked — if they feel they cannot provide for them.

But the law only provides parents with immunity from prosecution if the baby is left at a hospital, fire station or police station.

"We don't know who the mother is and are hoping that the public will help us identify her," said Sgt. John Nebl, public information officer for the Schaumburg Police Department.

"First and foremost we want to make sure that the mother is healthy mentally and physically, and that she voluntarily relinquished child." 

Hospital officials told Schaumburg police the baby likely was not born in a hospital because of the length of the unclamped umbilical cord. She appears to have been carried to full term, according to hospital officials.

Anybody with information about the baby or her mother is requested to call the Schaumburg Police Department Investigations Division at 847-882-3534.