'I have to act fast:' Newspaper carrier recounts moment he discovered newborn in road

MADERA, Calif. -- It's a moment that shook a newspaper carrier to his core.

"I see a bright white thing laying on the road I'm like, 'Is this an animal?'" Aurelio Fuentes Jr. said.

Two hours into his route, Fuentes, 21, saw something in the road.

"I approached slowly," Fuentes said. "Next thing you know, I see it's red; you can see the face--I saw a face. It's a baby."

Spray paint on the road where the baby was found leaves an eerie reminder of the rescue.

It was just after 4:30 a.m. Monday when the 21-year-old found the hours-old newborn wearing nothing but a onesie.

"It could've been worse because it's pitch black," Fuentes said. "There could've been coyotes; there's cars going by fast down that road."

Moments after calling 911 another driver waited with him, to help comfort the baby until an ambulance arrived.

"It's a lot to take in; it's a lot. I had my mind--just I need to get rest and see this baby," Fuentes said.

The baby girl is being treated in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Valley Children's Hospital.

"The baby was cold, but luckily she was discovered early enough that she'll make a full recovery," said Undersheriff Tyson Pogue with Madera County Sheriff's Office.

The investigation continues into why the newborn was left in the middle of the road and who is responsible.

Investigators are now working with neighbors in the area tracking down surveillance video and a witness who came forward saying he came into contact with the distraught mother before leaving her baby.

"This female got out of her car asked the man if he could help her and asked him to take her child," Undersheriff Pogue said.

That witness suggested taking the baby to a nearby staffed firehouse or hospital both considered safe surrender sites where they will take a baby no questions asked.

The mother was last seen in a white smaller SUV. She faces charges including felony child endangerment; investigators said they may even consider charging the mother with attempted murder.

Law enforcement officials said they want to use this case to remind everyone that California's Safely Surrendered Baby Law allows parents or persons with lawful custody to safely surrender an infant within 72 hours of birth, with no questions asked. Safe surrender sites are hospitals or other locations, typically fire stations. To find the nearest safe surrender site, call 1-877-222-9723 or visit this website to perform a zip code search.
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