EVERETT — Police say they have identified the mother of a baby who was found abandoned in a trash bin in Everett last month.
Samantha Houston, 18, of Everett, was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of second-degree abandonment of a dependent person, a felony.
Houston had been pregnant when she dropped out of Cascade High School. She later returned to school, no longer pregnant, and refused to talk about what happened, said Everett police officer Aaron Snell.
Police included her name in a press release issued Thursday afternoon. The arrest followed an anonymous tip.
Houston reportedly told detectives she panicked after giving birth March 25.
“She wrapped the newborn in a towel and walked with him outside,” Snell said. “She stated she didn’t know what to do and placed the newborn in the dumpster.”
The baby boy, now a month old, remains in protective custody and is healthy, Snell said. The State Department of Social and Health Services has to go through a court process to determine the custody for abandoned babies, who often are placed in foster homes and adopted.
Everett schools Superintendent Gary Cohn on Thursday said the case has been a sad reminder of the need for people to know about the help available for those in crisis.
“No child or adult in our community should find themselves in such a desperate situation and without a trusted person or entity to help,” he said.
One such resource is the hotline 211, which works like 911 but is for social services rather than emergencies.
“Our thoughts are with this young lady, her friends, her family, the baby and those who are caring for him,” Cohn said.
In Washington, mothers can leave their newborns — no questions asked — with a staff member or volunteer at any fire station, rural clinic or hospital emergency room.
The state does not discuss individual custody cases, so it’s unknown where the baby is now and the status of Houston’s parental rights.
The infant was found at the Mirabella Apartments by an Everett woman who called 911. She heard cries and climbed in to find the baby, officials said. His umbilical cord was still attached and he was beneath a microwave. At first, the woman thought the crying might be a cat or a doll. The trash bin was the kind outfitted with a button that when pressed, crushes the garbage.
The county jail register showed Houston was booked just before 3:30 p.m. Thursday on $5,000 bail.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Statement from Everett schools Superintendent Gary Cohn:
Like many in our community weeks ago, we were saddened to learn a newborn had been abandoned here in Everett. In the intervening weeks, we have been relieved to know the child is well and healthy. The baby is receiving the care and attention every child in our community deserves.
The child’s mother was identified today as an 18-year old high school student. Alone with a situation she had hidden successfully from those around her, she managed to deliver that child on her own. She said she panicked and did not know what else to do but abandon the child.
No child or adult in our community should find themselves in such a desperate situation and without a trusted person or entity to help.
This is a sad reminder of the need for everyone to know about resources available and to whom they can turn in crisis.
The 2-1-1 Care Crisis line is one such resource. A call to 2-1-1 connects people 24/7 to services and those who can help.
Our thoughts are with this young lady, her friends, her family, the baby and those who are caring for him.