The investigation into the case of a 1-month-old baby who was left on the steps of Weehawken High School on June 10 continued last week. By Friday, charges still had not been made against the 37-year-old mother who allegedly abandoned the girl, but the baby seemed to be recovering well from injuries to her head, officials said.
Officials said the mother, who has two other children and is a special education math teacher on leave at Memorial High School in West New York, is being investigated in connection with the injuries to the baby.
The baby girl was abandoned on the steps of Weehawken High School last Friday around lunchtime, according to Weehawken Public Safety Director Jeff Welz. She was found within a few minutes and brought into the Superintendent’s Office while authorities were called.
The trauma appeared to be the result of a very recent incident.
Although officials originally thought the baby only had bruise on her head, doctors later discovered that the baby had multiple injuries throughout her body, including a skull fracture.
She was admitted to the hospital for head trauma and earlier this week underwent surgery.
Officials said that her injuries were life-threatening, but the surgery was successful and the baby is on the road to recovery at a hospital in Manhattan.
Weehawken mother of three, WNY teacher
Although the name of the mother has not been released, officials said she has been on family leave from Memorial High School since April.
According to officials, there is no indication that her work as a teacher is in any way related to what happened, nor are her other children suspected victims of abuse.
The father of the baby has not been identified, but he is not going to be subject to investigation, an official said.
Last week, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner extended his condolences to the family and all involved in the incident.
“Obviously it’s a tragedy for the entire family,” said Turner. “It’s a sad day when a situation arises to the point where a child gets injured at any age.”
Turner pointed out that there are options for parents who may have problems or feel overwhelmed (see sidebar).
“If anyone has issues, they should reach out,” he said. “There [are] all kinds of services available. The main thing is to make sure that children are safe and there’s no abuse.”
Turner said the quick response was reflective of the Weehawken community.
He said neighbors are currently working with the family and DYFS to make sure the woman’s other children are cared for during this time.
The case is being handled by the Special Victims Unit of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.
Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said that no formal charges had been made as of Friday, but the baby sustained injuries that are clearly consistent with trauma.
DeFazio said the trauma appeared to be the result of a very recent incident.
DYFS (Division of Youth and Family Services) is already involved in the case and DeFazio said that if the baby is released from the hospital prior to the completion of the mother’s psychological evaluation (which she is currently undergoing at Jersey City Medical Center), the baby’s placement would be in the agency’s hands.
Lana Rose Diaz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help for parents
There are resources for parents who are facing postpartum depression or any other overwhelming circumstances related to pregnancy or children.
Those suffering from postpartum depression or any issue related to birth, pregnancy, or loss, can call a state hotline: 800-328-3838. In addition, a state “Safe Haven” law signed in 2000 allows parents to drop off a baby with workers at a hospital or police station without any questions asked, in an effort to avoid situations in which babies are abandoned in unsafe places. The hotline is 877-839-2339.