A woman walking her dog found a newborn baby girl carefully wrapped in blankets, lying in a knapsack on an outdoor basketball court at Patapsco High School in Dundalk, police said last night.
"We're estimating that the baby was only hours old. The umbilical cord was still attached," said Sgt. Stephen R. Doarnberger, a Baltimore County police spokesman.
A 20-year-old woman who lives near the high school in the 8100 block of Wise Ave., was out walking her dog at 6:20 p.m. yesterday when she saw the purple knapsack on the ground, police said. It was raining heavily at the time.
"On a normal day, when it wasn't raining, that court would be very crowded," Sgt. Doarnberger said. "It could have been that the mother left the child there thinking that someone would have seen the child right away."
The woman told police she investigated the knapsack after seeing it move. She found the infant inside and called police. The officers then took the infant to Francis Scott Key Medical Center for an exam.
The child suffered some loss of body temperature because of the rainy weather, but seemed to be recovering last night, police said.
Her condition was listed as guarded, police said.
Medical officials reported the baby to be a white female weighing 5 pounds and 15 ounces. The baby appears to have been born after a full-term pregnancy, they said.
Police canvassed the nearby neighborhoods, trying to find clues to the mother's identity.
They also contacted area hospitals, in the event the mother might have sought medical treatment.
"Our immediate concern is finding the mother," Sgt. Doarnberger said. "This is a criminal investigation, but we have concerns about her health as well."
He said the Department of Social Services would be contacted and would provide arrangements for care of the child.
A social services case worker was expected to make contact with hospital officials last night. Typically, the child would be placed in a foster home, pending identification of her mother, police said.
Anyone with any information about the child or her mother is asked to call police at 887-7320.