A Christmas miracle occurred in one of the most unlikely places: a Walmart bathroom in New Roads, Louisiana. On Friday, December 23, around 7 p.m., an employee was cleaning out the trash can in the women’s bathroom when he noticed something strange.
The bag seemed heavier than usual, so he decided to investigate. He could not believe what his eyes were seeing: Lying wrapped up among the garbage was a tiny baby girl.
She was a mere four hours old and was not breathing. Immediately, paramedics were called who revived the child and took her to the local hospital before being transferred to Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge.
“Had it been just a little bit longer, the possibility of resuscitation probably wouldn’t have happened,” said Lt. Shael Stringer of the New Roads Police Department. Once arriving at the local hospital, the baby was deemed stable but remained in critical condition.
Once the child was taken safely to the hospital, the investigation for the mother began. It did not take long for police to find her.
A Walmart employee recalled seeing a woman in the bathroom around 3 p.m. who was bleeding heavily. She asked the mother if she needed any help to which the mother replied she was simply having trouble with her menstrual cycle.
The employee gave the mother some paper towels to help clean up — not knowing she was giving birth within the stall. Once the baby had been born, the mother wrapped her in the paper towels, placed her in the trash can, and left.
Upon investigation, the mother, Kyandrea Thomas, 34, was found at another nearby hospital the following day. She had checked herself in following complications with the delivery.
Thomas has been charged with attempted second degree murder. She was also arrested in 2009, on a negligent homicide charge, after leaving a child in a hot car and sentenced to five years probation and community service.
As for the baby, police have temporarily named her Olivia. She has been taken off of supplemental oxygen and is expected to make a full recovery. However, due to the limited amount of oxygen she was exposed to while in the plastic bag for four hours, doctors are worried about possible brain damage.
It is a miracle she was able to last as long as she did. Stringer said, “Anytime an infant is left unattended for the first four hours or so of its life it is life-threatening. I feel she had minutes to seconds to live.”
Olivia has already proven to be a strong and resilient girl even at such a young age and in such a small body. With everything she has overcome so far in her short life, there is a lot of hope in her future.
The atrocious act of Thomas could have been prevented, the Department of Children and Family Services said. Louisiana has a “Safe Haven” Law which would have both saved Thomas from going to jail and given her daughter a safe passage into the world.
The law states that if a parent is unable to care for their baby or if the baby’s well-being is in danger, the parent can bring them to a safe haven site. As long as there is no evidence of abuse, there will be no questions asked.
“The main purpose of this law is to save children’s lives,” said Marketa Walters, DCFS secretary. “They can have a great life, they just need that opportunity, and that means that mom needs to be selfless enough to give that child to a safe places.”
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