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Woman made up story about abandoned baby in Long Beach, police say

February 21, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Police said a woman made up a story about finding an abandoned baby at a Long Beach gas station.

Sonia Hernandez said she discovered the newborn baby girl in a plastic bag at around 7:45 p.m. Monday at the USA Mini Mart and Gas Station, took her home and called police.

"I thought she was cat food, that's why I was looking into the bag. And then she was a baby," said Hernandez Monday night to police and the media. "I just picked up the baby and kissed the baby, and I hold her in my heart and I am going to keep it."

It turns out that story was false. Police say that Hernandez is the baby's grandmother and that she made up the story to protect her daughter from the relationship that she's in.

"We believe that the mother, having to have an explanation for the existence of this child, came up with the story that she was found abandoned," said Long Beach Police Sgt. Rico Fernandez.

Authorities said 28-year-old Paloma Espinoza gave birth to the baby girl hours before the 911 call, and she panicked.

"The birth mother alleges that she was unaware that she was pregnant for the past nine months," said Fernandez.

Police said Espinoza left the baby alone for some time before heading to her mother's house. It seems that's when Hernandez made up the story.

Both Hernandez and Espinoza are facing possible charges.

"The birth mother for child abandonment and for endangerment; and the mother for interfering with the police investigation and lying to police." said Fernandez.

The baby remains hospitalized under observation and is doing well.

This incident is a reminder about the California Safe Haven Law. It allows any mother that gives birth within 72 hours, who feels that she cannot properly take care of the child, to safely surrender the baby to any hospital or fire department, no questions asked.