LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — A woman walked into the Animal Kingdom Lodge lobby early Sunday morning and claimed someone had handed her a newborn baby outside, but the child turned out to be her own, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Around 2 a.m., the woman, later identified as Cassandra Durham, 32, walked into the lobby of the hotel and said an unknown woman had just handed her a newborn baby wrapped in bloody towels, deputies said.
Durham told the worker at the front desk that she was smoking a cigarette in the garage when a woman, of which she provided a vague description, walked up to her and handed her the baby.
Reedy Creek firefighters responded and transported the newborn to Celebration Hospital in good health. They said the baby's umbilical cord was still attached.
Investigators determined Durham is the child's mother, according to Sheriff's Office Spokesman Jeff Williamson.
Detectives located Durham and interviewed her. She was been transported to a facility "for evaluation and treatment," according to the Sheriff's Office.
"The father of the child, who was in the room or in the vicinity, has said that he does want this child, does want to keep this child, and is fighting for that legally right now," Williamson said.
It's unclear if Durham will be charged. Records said she is from New York and was staying at the hotel with her husband.
Florida's Safe Haven law allows a parent to drop off a newborn at any fire station or hospital in the state, no questions asked.
"That really doesn't meet the intent of the law. We're glad that she passed off the newborn to someone else, of course, and didn't illegally abandon it," said Oviedo Fire Chief Lars White, the Seminole County chapter coordinator for A Safe Haven for Newborns. "(The) law requires them to physically pass off the newborn infant to an attendant, a firefighter, a paramedic or a nurse in the hospital."
Cox Media Group