Abandoned baby’s mother detained

Officers from the Judicial Police have detained the mother who abandoned her baby girl – “Mariana” – at the end of April in a shopping basket at the Forum Shopping centre in Faro.

A police spokesman revealed that the young mother had apparently acted out of fear that her family, from whom she was hiding her pregnancy, would not accept the baby. The 24-year-old unmarried mother from Tavira, who already has a two-year-old daughter, gave birth in a Lisbon hospital on April 26.

The fact that the mother only had a small bulge (the baby was born weighing 2.5 kilograms) enabled her to hide her pregnancy from family and friends. She left a note, saying: “Help me, help me – I am desperate and severely depressed. My baby and I will die of hunger and cold. I would like the baby to have the name of my mother – Mariana Alves.”

The authorities believe that, far from spontaneous, the abandonment was planned long in advance, and she hid the pregnancy from everyone, including work colleagues, family and friends.

Four days after leaving the Lisbon hospital, she travelled to Faro, abandoned the new-born baby in the Forum shopping centre and then went home to look after her other daughter. The baby spent some time in Faro Hospital, after she had been abandoned, but is now restored to perfect health and the Refúgio Aboim Ascenção has taken custody of the child.

The young mother will now be subjected to various medical tests to establish her psychiatric state in case the authorities decide on returning the baby to her. The maximum jail term for abandoning a child is eight years, but the fact that the woman confessed to the crime voluntarily, had treated the baby well and left the child in a conspicuous area may be seen as mitigating circumstances.