Mother fearing domestic violence takes toddler to fire station after she was turned away at shelter

HOUSTON -- A mother who dropped her child off at fire station in Houston, Texas said she wasn't planning on leaving him there, but she didn't know where else to turn for help.

Corterra Payton told KTRK-TV that she was desperate. After an overnight argument with her boyfriend, she left their apartment with her 11-month-old son, Duran.

"It's very hard, especially if you don't have an income at the moment," Payton said.

First, she called her family in Cleveland,Texas but they could not make it to Houston. Then, she tried a shelter but it was after midnight and they told her to come back in the morning.

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ABC13 reporter Jeff Ehling speaks with the mother who dropped off toddler son at a fire station.



By now it was past midnight and Payton feared what would happen if she pulled into a parking lot to sleep.

"We are going to be sleeping in the car, somebody going to come up with a gun, kill us, rob us," she said. "Either that or they will see me sleeping. A woman, guy, somebody will come by the car and say, 'Oh, she sleeping in the car with her baby, we fixing to call the police.'"

In the early morning hours, she made a decision no parent should have to make. Payton came to Fire Station 68, told firefighters her story, then left Duran in their care.

She says she is glad Station 68 firefighters opened their arms in her time of need.

"Thank you God! Because I know they have the law with firefighters the baby can't be over 60 days and they still took him, so I am thankful for that," Payton said.

She says she had no intention of leaving her son permanently, and an hour after returned. By then, HPD officers were on the scene.

Police made sure Payton and Duran were OK, then took them to a CPS facility for the rest of the night.

On Tuesday morning, Payton says her son will stay with her family until her new job provides a paycheck to get her back on her feet.

We called a 24-hour women's shelter and asked about what steps someone can take if they are in this situation. They recommend first, get to a safe place and call police. Officers have the addresses of emergency shelters and can get people help.

A second option is to go to a hospital. We are told hospitals have social workers on staff around the clock who also can help parents in desperate need find a place to spend the night.

SEE ALSO: Explaining the Safe Haven law in Texas

The Baby Moses Law refers to babies who are 60 days or younger. It states, "if you have a newborn that you're unable to care for, you can bring your baby to a designated safe place with no questions asked. The Safe Haven law, also known as the Baby Moses law, gives parents who are unable to care for their child a safe and legal choice to leave their infant with an employee at a designated safe place."

This includes a hospital, fire station, free-standing emergency centers or emergency medical services (EMS) station.
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