A town in New Mexico has announced it is preparing to install a ‘baby box’ where infants can be safely delivered, just days after an 18-year-old mother was arrested in another part of the state for allegedly throwing her newborn baby in a dumpster.
The specialized device — which will cost $20,000 to install — could be operating in Española as early as March and would be the first of its kind in New Mexico, according to KRQE. In Hobbs, nearly 300 miles to the southeast, Alexis Avila faces charges of attempted murder and child abuse after three good Samaritans found a newborn baby she allegedly abandoned in a dumpster. rubbish behind a shopping mall on Friday.
“We are finally at the point where we are going to install our first baby box in the Española fire station and we are excited about it,” Javier Sanchez, mayor of Española, told KQRE. “We are increasingly aware of the reality that exists in the world.”
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The station reports that the project took years to prepare.
“Our attorneys have finalized the final points that we were concerned about,” Sanchez added. “I think we’re now really on solid ground for our city managers to sign this off to get it started and we can start from here.”
In Hobbs, police rushed the abandoned child to a local hospital before he was airlifted to a facility in Lubbock, Texas, authorities said Monday. He was still there in stable condition on Tuesday.
In a statement to Fox News Digital, Monica Kelsey, founder and CEO of Indiana-based Safe Haven Baby Boxes, said “we are thrilled to partner with New Mexico to ensure mothers in crisis have a 100 option % safe and anonymous to return their newborns.
“We are grateful to Española, New Mexico for leading the way in their state to end infant abandonment,” she added.
Sanchez told KRQE he spoke with the mayor of Hobbs following the incident about options for New Mexico residents to safely abandon infants.
New Mexico woman defends daughter accused of throwing baby in dumpster
All 50 U.S. states have “safe haven” laws that allow newborns to be dropped off without criminal penalties at designated places – usually fire or police departments
“I called the mayor of Hobbs and he told me a bit about the situation and what’s going on,” Sanchez told KRQE. “As we were discussing this, we said we needed to install one in all our cities. we can deploy this in more than one location.”
John Wickersham, the assistant fire chief for the Española Fire Department, also told KRQE that the boxes are “temperature regulated” and “have alarm systems that go off and notify us when we’re not the.
“We respond within three minutes,” he added.
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In August 2019, New Mexico officials said they found a deceased newborn baby in a trash bag at a home in Alcalde, near Española.
“It happened here, we found a baby in the trash, and to hear it happened again is devastating,” Wickersham told KRQE. “It broke our hearts.”
Fox News’ Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.