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Girl, 16, is mother of newborn abandoned in alley, police say

The alley in Hermosa on where a newborn boy was reported found Tuesday. Authorities said the child was actually born two miles away | Mitch Dudek / Sun-Times

Police on Thursday determined a 16-year-old girl is the mother of a newborn boy who’d been abandoned in a Hermosa alley earlier this week.

Detectives questioned the girl Wednesday evening into Thursday and confirmed she was the mother, according to Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. Guglielmi, citing an ongoing investigation, declined to elaborate on how detectives came to the conclusion.

Investigators on Thursday were also questioning the newborn’s father, he said.

Who left the baby, wrapped in a beach towel, umbilical cord still attached, atop a plastic garbage bin in an alley in the 1700 block of North Keystone Avenue is still unclear. He was found Tuesday afternoon by a good Samaritan and rushed to a nearby fire station.

As of Thursday afternoon, no charges had been filed in the case. Under Illinois law, within 30 days of a birth a parent can hand over an infant at one of several safe haven locations — including hospitals, police or fire stations — without facing charges in most cases.

Discovery of who the boy’s parents are deflated the hopes of a separate family who wondered if their 19-year-old missing daughter, who was pregnant and due to give birth two days before the newborn was found, was the mother.

The family of Marlen Ochoa-Uriostegui have been searching for any sign of their daughter’s whereabouts since she went missing April 23 from Little Village.

“Given the closeness to my daughter’s due date, we thought maybe the two were connected,” Marlen’s father, Arnulfo Ochoa, 41, said in Spanish during a phone call Thursday. “We even rushed to the hospital to take a DNA test to figure out if the baby was my grandchild.”

The family plans to continue looking for Ochoa-Uriostegui and planned to hand out missing flyers Thursday evening in the 7700 block of South Keeler, where police recently discovered her black Honda Civic.

The newborn, meanwhile, was in good condition at Lurie Children’s Hospital, a source confirmed. The baby’s survival has been characterized as a miracle.

He was cold, pulseless and still had an umbilical cord attached when paramedics began emergency procedures.

“This poor kid was minutes away from having no chance at all,” Chicago Fire Department Field Chief Patrick Fitzmaurice said. “The baby was cold as concrete. I wasn’t ready to lose this one, and neither were the emergency personnel.”

The baby could be released from the hospital as early as this weekend, at which point the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services would place the infant in the care of a foster family as investigations by police and DCFS play out, according to DCFS spokesman Jassen Strokosch.

In Illinois, parents have up to 30 days to hand over their infant at a “safe haven” location if they cannot or choose not to care for their child.

No questions are asked and parents do not have to provide their name when dropping off the child, according to Illinois law.

In 2001, the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act was passed to provide a safe way for parents to give up their parental rights without fear of criminal liability and to reduce the risk of the child being abandoned. Safe haven locations in the state include hospitals and emergency care facilities, as well as staffed police and fire stations.