West Hills: On Monday, February 4, 2002, at approximately 8:05 p.m., a West Hills Hospital employee discovered an abandoned newborn in the rear parking lot of the hospital. The baby boy, race unknown, was estimated to be less than 24 hours old. The baby is currently listed in excellent condition and is being cared for by the West Hills Hospital staff. The Department of Children and Family Services has retained temporary custody of the child.
California Penal Code Section 271.5 states, "Any parent, or other person who has lawful custody of a minor child, 72 hours old or younger, may voluntarily surrender physical custody of the child to any hospital emergency room, without fear of prosecution."
West Valley Detectives initiated an immediate follow-up investigation. The baby was found wrapped in a blanket inside a shopping bag from a department store. Detectives found a receipt inside the bottom of the bag. The receipt was dated November 25, 2001, and it indicated that a purchase was made with a gift certificate, which was paid with a credit card. The investigation revealed that the purchaser was a 63 year-old woman who lives in the West Hills area, approximately one mile from the West Hills Hospital.
On Tuesday, February 5, 2002, at approximately 9:00 p.m., the detectives responded to the woman’s residence and discovered that the woman had three daughters and one of them lived at home. Their investigation revealed that the daughter, Rosemary Gutierrez, 26 years of age, was the mother of the baby. Gutierrez admitted that she was the mother and the birth took place inside the residence. Gutierrez indicated that she felt unprepared to raise the child at this time. She was arrested for child endangering.
For further information, contact West Valley Detectives at 818-756-8553.
This press release was prepared by Public Information Officer Jason Lee, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.