Teen mother abandons newborn at hospital, flees; Infant taken into protective custody

UPDATE at 3:40 p.m.  The RPD this afternoon acknowledged that Wyoming is a “Safe Haven” State in which a parent may give up a child to a Fire Station, a hospital, police department or sheriff’s office without facing criminal charges. As such, the charges indicated in the story below will be dropped. Refer to Wyoming Statue 14-11-102 -103 for further information.

(Riverton, Wyo.) – Riverton Police said a 19-year-old mother of a newborn from Fort Washakie will be charged with use of a controlled substance and abandoning a child after she fled SageWest Heath Care in Riverton after giving birth to a little girl. The woman is not in custody.

Riverton Police Captain Eric Murphy said the woman arrived at the hospital on Thursday morning at 8:30 just hours away from birthing the child. In routine tests, the mother tested positive for use of methamphetamine. After the baby was born at 4:43 p.m., the woman checked herself out of the hospital against the advice of doctors. The child was left behind in the care of the hospital.

Murphy said the RPD officer at the scene determined the child had been abandoned, and they took the baby into protective custody, legally, while leaving the child in the maternity ward for care. Eastern Shoshone Tribal Services was then able to take legal custody of the child for placement into a foster home. The baby is still at the hospital.

Murphy said he did not know if the baby was under the influence of methamphetamine. “Under Wyoming State Statute we cannot arrest the mother for child abuse, because state law clearly states that a child isn’t identified as such until is it born and takes it first breath outside of the mother. He said when the mother’s blood was tested, the baby had not yet been born.”



  1. Denise Caskey

    I don't think the mother should be charged with abandoning the child because she left it at the hospital where it could be cared for. If she had left it in a dumpster or some place where there was no guarantee it would survive, I could see an abandonment charge. As far as the drug use charge…I think getting her help is more important than charging her with a crime. Drug use is a disease and should be treated accordingly. The only charge I can see that makes sense in this case (based on the information provided) is child endangerment because she was using while she was pregnant.

  2. Julie Lefevre

    My thoughts exactly.

  3. Kayli Daniele King

    What kind of person just leaves their newborn child behind!!! Dumb bitch!

  4. Melody Jahrig

    I agree thank god she left it at the hospital. It could of been worse!!! :-( Maybe with a good view on taking care of the baby and not prosecuting mom, more moms will feel more confident to come for help instead of being to scared to ask. I hope the baby well. :-) She will b loved whoever gets her I pray. Remember that other mom on meth killed her baby and tried to hide it? So sad. Thank god this mom at least went to the hospital.

  5. Jennifer Schanno

    That is just sad makes me sick when they can't get there life straight for the sake of a baby!

  6. Tena Osborne

    Is there a safer place to leave a newborn? Granted the situation isn't the best but it could have been much,much worse!

  7. Stacey Lyn Meeks- Pantle

    Thank god she left it at the hospital!

  8. Sarah Stewart

    Coulda been like that chic that killed her baby and dumped it in the ditch!!!!

  9. Jessica Casper

    Awe!! I want to love the baby… Hopefully this poor young woman gets some help so that she can step up to be a parent to that beautiful baby!!! At least she left the baby in the hospital instead of burying it in a ditch!! There, she will be taken care of until she gets the love she deserves!!

  10. Mike Snyder

    How about if you cant keep your legs closed get fixed and avoid this problem all together?

  11. Stacia Corbett Citron

    So if the baby had been stillborn because of drug use it wouldn't have mattered because it wasn't considered a child until it was born? I think the law needs some work.

  12. Debra Rodriguez

    You should not be so judgemental, at least the baby wasn't found in a trash can or fending for itself with a meth abusing mother. Look for the good and you will find something.

  13. Kelly Olson

    thats so sad :( but she did make the right choice about leaving it at the hospital :(

  14. Brittney Jensen

    I'm not sure why she is being charged. Wyoming has a Safe Haven law. She can be charged for the meth use, but as far as abandonment, she followed the law…hospital, fire or police station and under 14 days old.

  15. Dawn DuBeau

    She shouldn't be charged with abandoning the baby there are safe haven laws that should protect her from that she could have done much worse. As for the drug charge I completely agree but don't just charge her offer her help as well

  16. Cricket Benally Gallegos

    Mike … She was only 19 …
    Well the girl has a disease
    An I'm sure she not ready to quit anytime soon
    So she did do a good thing by leavin the baby …
    It's sad …. But one day she will realize what she done .

  17. Jennifer Schanno

    This is just my opinion sorry you feel I am being judgmental. The benefit for the baby is now it can be adopted to a loving home! Plus there are other comments on here I don't see you snapping at there comments!

  18. Marla Malone Martinsen

    First, it is obvious that there needs to be some work done on that statute. Secondly, I' m surprised Wyo doesn't have a "Safe Haven" statute whereby you can leave your child someplace "safe"-like a hospital, fire or police station-without penalty. While it is true that she probably just fled to save her own a$$, she inadvertently did what was best for her child. Hopefully, that baby will now be placed somewhere they can have a shot at a decent life.

  19. Kerri Brissette

    Um what happened to the "Safe Haven" law???? Is the star if Wyoming the only state that doesn't uphold this law???

  20. Andrea Clark

    What happened to "no questions asked" if you leave you baby at the hospital

  21. Wolf Paws

    I hear everybody that the girl needs help. That those on meth need help. They need counseling. They need therapy. HOWEVER they have to WANT that therapy first or it's pointless. And so long as they are still getting high, still addicted, still have access to scratch that nasty itch, they won't want help. I think they need jail time inorder to purge themselves of the poison in their body. It forces them to stay away from it. Then, once the withdrawal period is over, and the crave has disippated, THEN look into rehab. Their mind is clearer, and they can see what is happening and what they ned to do to fix it. That being said though, there is always the chance that, even when they have cleaned themselves up, gone through rehab, started down the right path, they could always relapse. It takes a strong person to refuse that urge and overcome that addiction. It's not just meth, it goes for alcohol as well. It becomes a sort of security blanket for them, or a "safe haven" where they can escape reality and all its stresses. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. That's what makes this battle so difficult. There is no right answer, there is no wrong answer.

  22. Cassie Lemley

    either sterilize her or put her away so she can't do this again. I think she should be charged with attempted man slaughter, what if it would've od'd the baby?

  23. Diane Pendergraft

    If that's what it says, it sure does! Sorry to be this ignorant.

  24. P.h. Schroeder

    Mike, you don't know how she became pregnant. Maybe it was rape or incest. And how about the father . He should have his nuts cut off and that would solve the problem for the next girls he violates.

  25. Georgia Woolett-Roy

    An awful lot of judgmental people on this site…until you walk in another's shoes at least try to be kind

  26. Ron Howard

    They should change the name of Riverton to City Full of People Who Think They're Better Than Everyone Else or how about Town Full Of Judgmental Pricks.

  27. Della Helene Chippewa


  28. Della Helene Chippewa

    Some of this city's comments are sickening.

  29. Debra Rodriguez

    You need to treadmill and get a job, that is my opinion. lol.

  30. Valerie Schoneberger

    Wyoming Safe Haven law § 14-11-101 et seq. For more info on safe baby haven resources see the Child Welfare Information Gateway available online at https://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/safehaven.cfm or http://www.nationalsafehavenalliance.org/states/wyoming/

    Infant’s Age
    A newborn child may be relinquished. The term ‘newborn child’ means a child who is 14 days old or younger, as determined within a reasonable degree of medical certainty.

    Who May Relinquish the Infant

    A parent or a parent’s designee may relinquish a newborn child to a safe haven provider in accordance with the provisions of this act and retain complete anonymity.

    Who May Receive the Infant

    The child may be left at any safe haven provider. A safe haven provider may be any of the following that is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:
    • A fire station
    • A hospital
    • A police department or sheriff’s office
    • Any other place of shelter and safety identified by the Department of Family Services that meets the requirements
    of rules and regulations
    The term ‘fire station’ means a fire station that is open and operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and that is continually staffed with full-time, paid firefighters who have emergency medical services training. The term ‘hospital’ means a general acute hospital that is:
    • Equipped with an emergency room
    • Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
    • Employs full-time health-care professionals who have emergency medical services training

    Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider

    A safe haven provider shall accept a newborn child who is relinquished pursuant to the provisions of this act and may presume that the person relinquishing is the child’s parent or parent’s designee.The parent or parent’s designee may provide information regarding the parent and newborn child’s medical histories,
    and identifying information regarding the nonrelinquishing parent of the child, but the safe haven provider may not require that any information be given.
    A safe haven provider may provide any necessary emergency medical care to the newborn child and shall deliver custody of the newborn child to the nearest hospital as soon as possible.A hospital receiving a relinquished newborn child may provide any necessary medical care to the child and shall notify the local child protective agency as soon as possible but no later than 24 hours after receiving the child.

    Immunity for the Provider

    Any person, official, institution, or agency participating in good faith in any act required or permitted by this act is immune from any civil or criminal liability that might otherwise result by reason of the action. For the purpose of any civil or criminal proceeding, the good faith of any person, official, institution, or agency participating in any act permitted or required by this act shall be presumed.

    Protection for Relinquishing Parent

    A parent or a parent’s designee relinquishing a newborn child may retain complete anonymity. The safe haven provider may not require that any information be given.
    Relinquishment of a newborn child shall not, in and of itself, constitute abuse or neglect and the child shall not be considered an abused or neglected child, as long as the relinquishment is carried out in substantial compliance with provisions of this act.If the person relinquishing a newborn child is the child’s parent or the parent’s designee, relinquishment of a newborn child in substantial compliance with the provisions of this act is an affirmative defense to any potential criminal liability for
    abandonment or neglect relating to that relinquishment.

  31. Mindy Whiteplume

    Can none of you read? CHARGES WILL BE DROPPED!!!! The child is in good hands….leave it be. At least she didn't murder the child or leave it in a dumpster.

  32. Greg Tallabas


  33. Liz Shield

    Trust a man to make such an ignorant remark. You are a jerk.

  34. Liz Shield

    She did the right thing by leaving the baby at the hospital. At least the baby is safe. Hopefully, the mother will get help for her drug problems.

  35. Mike Snyder

    Liz if you dont like my comments kick rocks and get off my page.

  36. Mike Snyder

    P.H. Schroeder you are correct the father should have his balls cut off. Dont make em a mother if you wont make em your wife I think.

  37. Mike Snyder

    Cricket I agree that she did the right thing by leaving the baby with people who will care for it and love it and make sure they have a wonderfull home with great parents.

  38. Anne Orrillo Swingle

    So is it ok for the baby to be born addicted if she tested positive than the the baby tested positive when does the fetus matter how many more children have to go through this before something is done . I adopted a baby that the mother used during her pregnancy 3 hours after he was born he was tested and was positive for 3 different drugs he was in withdraws for the first 3 months of his life how is this ok she was never charged for the abuse because the state of Wyoming doesn't have laws protecting a fetus

  39. Anne Orrillo Swingle

    This madness needs to stop

  40. Thomas Crispin

    We as natives were not all brought up like perfect do gooders like y'all! There is real struggle out there open your eyes! Judge and jury on here! :(

  41. Michele Sutter

    I pray this young lady will get sober and be able to live a happier life.

  42. Billy Bemus

    This reminds me of a post… Mom i think something is in the air im starting to get sick the daughter exclaims. The mom says no shit put your legs down and close them and you would be having this problem, your pregnant.

  43. Wesley Monroe

    Or like that one that strangled her children on honor farm road!

  44. Diane Yellowplume

    I will be more then willing to take the child and raise it….no problem…

  45. Tia Warden

    At least she knew she couldn't take care of the baby. Now the baby can be placed in a loving home and be properly taken care of. That's one less child that will be left alone in a house or with strangers cause the mother would rather do drugs and be selfish and on worry about herself. Some people are not meant to be parents and obviously she knew she could straighten out her life to do so..

  46. Tia Warden

    She Knew she couldn't straighten out her life to do so**

  47. Ken Swan

    I have to disagree with numerous people posting on here, Drug ABUSE IS NOT a DISEASE, it is something that you willfully MAKE A CHOICE to do, it is not like Cancer or any other disease that just happens, YOU make the choice to use drugs

  48. Daniel Pierson

    Just say NO to BigPharma

  49. Judy Johnson Clark

    Who are we to judge this young woman? Maybe she felt this was the best thing for her child. There are so many couples out there who can't have children I am sure there will be a family who will gladly give the child a loving home. Better this than some of the alternatives.

  50. Kevin Marvel

    I forgot that Riverton People walk on water…..It is best she left that baby and yes she needs help !!

  51. Debbie Wallington

    Thank goodness she left it there where someone who is able to care for it is able to do so. I agree, at least she didn't stuff it in a dumpster or kill it. This is why states have "Safe Haven". To bad more women wouldn't do this.

  52. Sera Pauline Tom-Whiteplume

    How can I get ahold of the eastern Shoshone services I could care for the baby. And I would adopt the baby if needed…

  53. Terry Gerhardt

    bet parents r real proud of remark.

Leave a Comment

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current ye@r *