CLEARWATER, Fla. - Outside Clearwater Fire House 49, there are two signs: one that says Safe Place. Below it, another that reads Safe Haven for newborns, with a number to call.
But via Skype, Safe Haven's founder Nick Silverio told us those signs aren't a go-ahead to just drop off an infant all alone.
"If you do not leave your baby with somebody, then it's considered abandonment, whether the baby survives or doesn't survive," Silvero said.
The newborn girl, less than a day old, found here this morning did not make it. But in the decade plus since Safe Haven started, they say 188 babies have survived all across the state.
"At this point there's a 188 babies that now have a future to grow up to be all they can be. Whether it be a scientist finding a cure for cancer, a Supreme Court justice, President or most importantly a great mom and dad to their children."
Silverio says there have been a few other cases where babies were left alone, but he can't remember one ever dying.
Still, he said, they started sending out new signs months a that add seven important words: "Only when left with a staff member!"
The hope is to avoid any misunderstanding.
"We just think it's an extra protection to make sure to bring it to someone's attention, that you must leave the baby with somebody," Silvero said.
While investigators search for the person who left the baby, people living in the area say they are torn apart by the news. Some of them, like Kevin Walker, were even brought to tears.
"I hate to see something like that," said Walker. "It's terrible."
Walker is a retired police officer with 30 years of service. He said his time on the force still doesn't help him digest something as horrific as this.
"Unbelievable. I mean, I walk by here every morning. I mean, why? Its shocking and its sad," Walker said.
"We don't know how long it was there and we don't know who left it there," said Elizabeth Watts with the City of Clearwater. "These are things we are trying to figure out."
Those working the case say they are relying on one thing in particular to help them find the person who did this.
"We will be checking to see if surveillance video in the area caught anything. Obviously that's one of the leads we hope turn out for us," said Watts.
Until there are more answers, people like Walker will still have questions.
"To have a young child just left there," said Walker. "It leaves me almost just speechless."
Detectives are asking for the public's help. If anyone has information about this case or knows of a female who was recently pregnant and is no longer pregnant and is now without a child, please contact Clearwater Police Department's general number 562-4200 or the Tip Line 562-4422.
People with information can also remain anonymous by sending information to 847411 (tip411).
Follow this link to learn more about the A Safe Haven for Newborns:
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