As Albert Peterson left his house for work early morning on August 10, he expected it to be just a regular day just like any other. But in a matter of seconds, it turned out to be one of the most shocking and memorable days of his life. As Albert was walking through his apartment complex in Houston, Texas, he heard an unusual crying sound coming from a nearby flower bed and went to check it out. It was still dark out so it was hard to see anything at first, but when his eyes adjusted he couldn’t believe what he was looking at.
There, lying in the cold hard ground and covered in dirt, was a newborn baby girl. “I looked down. I said, ‘Oh, man, there is a baby right here,’” Albert recalled. “The baby was brand new.” Shocked, Albert bent down and picked up the little girl who hadn’t even been cleaned off before being abandoned. “I picked the baby up, and the baby had mucus and blood and all kinds of stuff all over her body. When I seen her, I seen ants and stuff all over. So I picked her up.” Albert said.
Albert picked up the baby and carried her back to his apartment. His wife washed her and covered her with a warm blanket while Albert called 911. On arrival, the police estimated that the baby was only about an hour old. They credited Albert with saving her life, saying that had the newborn been left there for much longer she would not have made it.
Detectives followed a trail of blood from where the baby girl was found to the door of a nearby apartment where they found her mother. At first, Sidney Woytasczyk, 21, denied knowing anything, but she soon admitted to abandoning the newborn, telling the police she had not known she was pregnant and when she gave birth she was afraid that her boyfriend would be scared away. Woytasczyk was arrested and taken for a psychological evaluation and medical checkup. She was later charged with a felony charge of abandoning a child and causing serious bodily injury. If found guilty, she could receive up to 20 years in prison.
When the baby was abandoned, her umbilical cord was not clamped, putting her at risk of bleeding to death or developing a bacterial infection. She also suffered a rapid heart rate. Miraculously, after being rushed to the NICU at Texas Children’s Hospital, her condition was found to be all good. She was placed in the care of Child Protective Services (CPS) until a permanent home could be found.
Had it not been for Albert, this story would have a much different ending. “Without this neighbor, we could be looking at probably a whole different scene,” said Deputy Thomas Gilliland. “It would be more of a homicide.”
Authorities say they want women in similar situations to know there are options. If you can’t take care of your baby, call the toll free crisis hotline at 1-888-510-BABY or find a hospital, fire station, or EMS station – they will happily take your baby.