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Safe Haven law allows anonymity when leaving infant behind

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 19 2013 10:00:56 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 26 2013 01:37:50 PM CDT

Safe Haven law alloys anonymity when leaving infant behind

A gruesome discover by a cleaning crew at Starter's Pub in Lower Saucon Township Monday morning-- a fetus in the toilet tank.

As the investigation continues, it's unclear if the mother miscarried or there was more that could have been done to save the child.

The "Safe Haven" law has been in place for years.

The "Safe Haven" law means a mother or family member can take a baby, up to 28 days old, to an area hospital and leave the child, with no questions asked.

As for this case, investigators are looking at all evidence, including, checking surveillance video to find the mother.

It's not the way owner, David Rank envisioned starting the day at Starter's Pub, in Lower Saucon Township, Northampton County --part of the cleaning crew had trouble flushing the toilet.

"She called one of my other cleaning people who came over and lifted the tank, the back of the tank off and inside the tank there was a fetus," said Rank.

Investigators searched inside and outside of the building looking for clues.

For David Rank, it was tough to hold back tears.

"It's very hard to go through and you have employees," added Rank.

Employees held a prayer service before opening.

"I genuinely feel bad for the baby, I feel bad for the mother," said Rank.

In Pennsylvania, there is the "Safe Haven" law.

A person can leave a child up to 28 days old, ring the buzzer, and doctors will take it from there.

"Every hospital that has an emergency room has a crib that is outside of the emergency room," Georgene Saliba, administrator for Risk Management and Patient Safety, at Lehigh Valley Health Network. "So it doesn't require the individual  to have to come in."

The person can drop off the child without fear of criminal prosecution.

As long as the baby has not been harmed.

"The law has been around for quite a long time and in our close recent past we did have one dropped off at one of our hospitals and it worked wonderfully," added Saliba.

Police are still investigating the case at Starter's Pub.

Pennsylvania is one of 49 states that adopted the Safe Haven law.

For more information on the Safe Haven law click here or call 1-866-921-SAFE (7233).