HOUSTON - A 16-year-old girl who gave birth to a baby boy found abandoned in a southeast Houston dumpster has been charged with child abandonment.
The teen hasn't been identified because she is a minor. Houston police identified her as the mother of "Baby Carlos" on Feb. 25, the same day the baby was found by a maintenance worker at an apartment complex in the 9900 block of Windmill Lakes. According to investigators, she admitted to placing the baby in the dumpster, but told Child Protective Services caseworkers she thought he was dead.
The teen was arrested Thursday on a charge of abandoning a child without intent to return, a second-degree felony. She remains in custody.
Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said the charge carries a penalty of two to 20 years for adults, but because she is a juvenile, the teen may be eligible for a type of probation.
Anderson said her office is now discussing whether to seek certification to have the teen stand trial as an adult.
"The DA's Office will not be seeking probation for this type of case. We believe if you abandon a baby in this manner, with no intent to return for the baby, no regard for the safety of this baby, we will be seeking incarceration," she said.
Anderson spoke at news conference Friday afternoon with Executive Director of Harris County Protective Services for Children and Adults George Ford.
Ford and Anderson both reminded the public about the Texas' Safe Haven, or "Baby Moses" law, which allows parents to safely surrender their infants at a fire department, police station, or hospital without fear of prosecution.
Earlier in the day, the 16-year-old mother appeared at a custody hearing where a judge decided that Baby Carlos will remain in temporary custody of the state.
During the hearing, a CPS caseworker told a judge that the girl's aunt, who she lives with, was unaware that the teen was pregnant.
We also learned that a 22-year-old man the teen identified as the father was uncooperative when contacted by CPS investigators and claimed he didn't know the girl. A judge Friday ordered he undergo paternity testing when he is located.
Baby Carlos was expected to be released from a Houston hospital on Friday. He will be placed into foster care while CPS workers conduct a home study and determine whether the baby can be placed with a family friend.
In the meantime, supervised visits between the mother and child have been postponed pending the results of a mental health evaluation.
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