Jan. 25--Investigators are looking for the mother of a newborn infant found in a cardboard box on the doorstep of a police officer's home in northwest Indiana, authorities said today.
Patrolman Gerald Croarkin's wife, Angie, found the infant when she stepped out her front door to have a cigarette Friday around 8 p.m., Merrilliville Det. George Fields said. The baby, a 5-pound 15-ounce girl who nurses at a local hospital have named Olivia, was swaddled in a blanket and fleece sweatshirt, Fields said.
The child's umbilical cord was still attached and unclamped, and investigators believe she was likely born just hours before she was left on the Croarkin's doorstep.
"It was about 7 degrees that night. There was no ring or knock at the door or anything," said Fields, who said Croarkin estimated the child was outside for at most 15 minutes between the time the couple arrived home and when Angie noticed the box.
"It was a good thing (Angie Croarkin) decided to step outside when she did," Fields said.
Whoever left the child with the Croarkins likely knew Gerald was a police officer because the veteran officer has a fully marked take-home squad car parked at the house when he is home, police said. A canvass of the neighborhood has not turned up any leads, and all of the 30 calls the department has received from the public have been inquiries about adopting the child, Fields said.
Indiana has a safe haven law that allows mothers to leave an infant who is less than 45 days old with authorities at a police station, fire house or emergency room with no criminal penalty.
Leaving the child outside a police officer's house does not meet the requirements of the law, though Fields said investigators are not focused on prosecuting the parents at this time, Fields said.
"It's very likely (the mother) needs medical attention herself right now. It does not appear she delivered at a hospital, and there is a risk of infections (after giving birth) in the way she did," Fields said.
The baby is in good condition and appears to have no health problems, Fields said.
Doctors and her future caretakers would benefit from getting some basic information about the child's family medical history and other basic information her mother could provide, Fields said. The department will hold a press conference today at 1 p.m.
Anyone with information can contact Fields at 219-769-3531, extension 349.