Teen mum leaves note asking Griffith family to ‘please take care of baby’

SURPRISED: Rodel Acuna found a baby on his doorstep late on Sunday night. Picture: Stephen Mudd.
SURPRISED: Rodel Acuna found a baby on his doorstep late on Sunday night. Picture: Stephen Mudd.

The Griffith man who discovered a baby on his doorstep doesn’t know why he was chosen to take care of the child.

Rodel Acuna said perhaps it was the streetlight directly out the front of his home. Maybe it was the lights still on inside while the rest of the street slept.

Mr Acuna often stays up late watching TV. When the doorbell rang at 11.30pm on Sunday, he thought it might have been a friend dropping in on their way home.

Mr Acuna said he got up and peeked out the front window and couldn’t see anything on his verandah. He then moved to the other side of the long, wide window and peeked out the other side.

“I saw what looked like the top of a fabric shopping bag,” Mr Acuna said.

“I thought maybe my friends had left some fruit for me.”

When he opened the door, he noticed a cloth in the top of the bag. Looking closer, it looked like a doll was wrapped in the cloth. 

Then the doll started to cry.

“I was very surprised it was a chubby little baby,” Mr Acuna said.

“I called out to my wife to come and then I realised the baby was crying because of the mosquitoes.”

Mr Acuna told his wife to go and call the police while he shooed the mozzies away.

“In the Philippines we would have taken the baby inside and cared for it,” he said.

“My wife suggested taking it to the hospital, but I didn’t want them to think the wrong thing and then we get in trouble.”

Two police cars pulled up carrying three officers. The two younger male officers looked around while the female officer, who seemed to be in charge, inspected the bag. She pulled out a note in the bag which read “please take care of my baby, I’m 14-years-old and if my parents know they will kill me”. The bag also contained a baby’s bottle and things to take care of him.

The police officers rang the hospital and two ambulances, one big and one small, quickly arrived. They took the baby to Griffith Base Hospital, where he was taken care of. The child was assessed as being about three days old and in good health. Family and Community Services (FACS) was given custody of the three-day-old boy while police appealed for the mother to come forward.

Mr Acuna said it was very surprising. When asked if he thought the baby would be left on his doorstep if there was a ‘safe haven’ program in place, he said no. Why would she leave her baby with a stranger when he could go to a doctor?

Police superintendent Michael Rowan appealed for the mother to come forward on Monday afternoon and stressed she was not in any trouble, they just wanted to make sure she was ok.

“There must be a reason why this has taken place and we would like to assist her or members of her family and get to the bottom of it,” Superintendent Rowan said.