DEBARY, Fla. - A man who claimed he found a newborn outside a convenience store early Monday morning told investigators he initially lied to them and that the baby belonged to his girlfriend and that he left it there.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said Ralph Garlick Jr. claimed he found the baby girl unclothed and wrapped in newspaper outside the food mart’s door on South Charles R. Bell Boulevard.
Garlick, 53, initially told deputies that he found the baby after hearing its cries and didn’t know who it belonged to.
Authorities said Garlick initially identified himself to deputies as Charles Garlick, using the name of his dead brother, but after questioning, Garlick admitted he lied to deputies about his name and the circumstances of Monday’s incident.
Deputies said Garlick's girlfriend gave birth to the baby early Monday morning at an apartment complex in Orange City.
Garlick said he was trying to bring the baby to a safe location because his girlfriend didn’t want to keep her.
Authorities said the baby still had the umbilical cord still attached, which appeared to have been tied with a shoe string.
Garlick was arrested on charges of knowingly giving false information to law enforcement during an investigation and resisting an officer without violence.
While facing a judge on Monday, Garlick insisted he was trying to do the right thing and did not abandon the newborn.
"An infant wasn't found in front of a store. I was trying to get the infant somewhere safe," he said.
Garlick said he tried to get help at a nearby fire station but claims no one was there, so he flagged down a driver instead.
The driver called 911.
Caller: "It's definitely a newborn. His eyes aren't even open."
Dispatcher: "And is breathing OK?"
Caller: "Yeah, he's making grunting sounds so his breathing is OK. He's probably just a little cold."
Garlick is being held in the Volusia County Branch Jail on $5,000 bail.
Investigators with the Florida Department of Children and Families are continuing to monitor the health of the baby girl, who weighed in at 6 pounds.
The newborn, who does not yet have a name, remains under doctor's care, and DCF investigators are working closely with the Volusia County Sheriff's Office to better understand the circumstances that led to her discovery.
The baby has been admitted to Winner Palmer Hospital where she will remain for several days, officials said.
The baby’s mother, who has not been charged, was taken to Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford, deputies said.
In the state of Florida, Safe Haven Laws allow birth parents to safely surrender a newborn (up to 7 days old) at attended fire or EMS stations, as well as hospitals, to preclude abandoning a newborn and causing harm or worse.
Infants that are surrendered through the Safe Haven Law are directly placed with approved adoptive parents through private adoption agencies. They do not enter the foster care system.