Houston woman rescued as a baby from NW Houston school more than 40 years ago shares her story

Courtney Carpenter Image
Friday, February 3, 2023
Houston woman rescued at birth outside NW Houston school shares story
A newborn who was rescued in 1982, outside of M.C. Williams Middle School in Houston spoke with the pair who found her more than 40 years ago.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- On Feb. 14, 1982, a newborn girl was found at the entrance of M.C. Williams Middle School in northwest Houston. Now, more than 40 years later, that baby is grown up and has a name. It's Leigha Curry, and she's on a journey to find out more about how her life began.

ABC13 covered the story back in 1982.

"Some grim news here in Houston. Two young infants, one just a few hours old were abandoned and left to die here in Houston over the weekend. One baby did die. The other is doing just fine. They are also looking for the mother of a newborn Black baby girl who was discovered by students at the Williams Middle School in northwest Houston," ABC13 reported in 1982.

"No note, no nothing. Just left behind the school," Curry said.

She dug up Harris County Child Welfare records that show she had hypothermia from being left on the ground that chilly February day. She had low blood sugar but quickly recovered in the hospital.

"It tells you, 'The two children had found the baby on the back steps of the school, told their parents who in turn called the fire department,'" Curry read.

Curry says she grew up in a loving home with her adoptive parents. She is now a wife, a mother of two, and a school support officer at Houston ISD. Though she's accomplished a lot, she has always wondered where she came from.

"For the last six months, I've been on this emotional roller coaster of figuring out who I am. Where did I come from? And the big secret is, who had me?" Curry said.

Cousins Patrick and Wanda Hillsman told us they remember Feb. 14, 1982, like it was yesterday.

"It's surreal. I told them they are my lifesavers," Curry said.

"Me and him jumped on our bicycles, and we came riding over here to M.C. Williams, and we were just riding up through here and back and forth and said, 'Patrick, you hear that baby? Something's crying.' We looked over in the corner. There was a white sheet, and she was screaming at the top of her lungs," Wanda explained.

At the time, Wanda was 11 years old and Patrick was 9.

"We actually left our bicycles because there was a hole in the gate. We went under the gate to our house and told our mom. She was like, 'Ain't no baby over there.' So she told my big brother to come over here and check, and my big brother carried her home," Wanda recalled.

It's a day that bonded Patrick and Wanda.

"She was just moving. Moving and crying. I mean, she had some lungs. She was loud," they remembered.

It's a moment that's been on their mind over the years.

"I've always thought in my head like, 'Man, I wonder if this baby is OK'," Wanda said.

ABC13 was able to help connect Curry to Patrick.

"I hung up with Leigha, and I immediately called Wanda and said, 'The baby called.' She knew who I was talking about. She's always been the baby," Patrick explained.

It was a reunion that was a long time coming and one that's been healing.

"I think about it now, that God used us way back then, and we didn't even know that He had a plan for her life," Wanda said.

Curry still had questions, like who was her mother? Who abandoned her more than four decades ago, and why?

Using the Ancestry website, she discovered a few relatives, which eventually led to conversations with a woman and her sister, one of whom Curry believes to be her birth mom.

"Initially, I wanted to know why. I wanted to know who it was and why. I am not going to get that. I have had an opportunity to talk with both of these ladies and they have not been as forthcoming with information," Curry said.

We spoke to that woman and her sister, but they did not want to add anything to the story.

We also checked with the Harris County District Attorney's Office. The statute of limitations has run out, so there are no potential charges the mom could face at this point.

Curry is coming to terms with not knowing everything about being left in the cold all those years ago.

"My prayer is that they see this and see that if I can forgive you, you have to forgive yourself. My story is about God's grace, forgiveness, because I don't harbor any unforgiveness or anything for these people. It could have been different. It should have been, but God had a plan, and I am going to continue to trust Him throughout this process," she said.

SEE RELATED STORY: Baby abandoned on stranger's doorstep with note detailing domestic violence situation

SEE ALSO: Father charged for leaving abandoned baby in strangers' Livingston shed

For more news updates, follow Courtney Carpenter on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.