In the case of a baby rescued from a sewage pipe in China, the mother likely will not face charges. Police reportedly have decided she made an error -- and wasn't trying to dispose of her infant.
The newborn boy has been released from a hospital in the care of his maternal grandparents, according to the Associated Press. At first, authorities were calling the incident -- in which the infant was rescued from a 3-inch-diameter pipe below a toilet -- a possible attempted homicide. Now, criminal charges are unlikely to be filed, the AP reports, citing local sources.
The 22-year-old unmarried mother told police she had kept her pregnancy a secret and gave birth to the baby in the restroom of the building where she lived.
As the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday, the woman said she did not try to dispose of the baby.
“She said she felt sudden pain and went to the toilet when the baby came out and slipped into the sewer pipe,” Zhang Jianbo, a local police officer, told the China Daily. "She said that she did not have money to raise the baby.”
The AP said the woman raised the alarm after the baby became stuck but also had cleaned the room of signs of a fresh birth. She did not come forward as the boy's mother until two days later.
The infant, who came to be called Baby 59 for his hospital incubator number, was shown in video footage being freed from the small pipe with saws and pliers.
The images led to a horrified reaction across China, with a deluge of gifts at the hospital and offers of adoption, according to the Guardian. But the news site said there were also expressions of sympathy as fresh details came out. One man said on social media that as a father he knew how much children needed their parents, but "I think this mother needs help too."