A 38-year-old Polish woman from Antwerp was arrested on Monday as part of the investigation into the newborn that was found on Tuesday 5 March in Antwerp. The investigating judge released her this morning, as announced by the Antwerp Public Prosecutor’s Office.
“The woman would have been unintentionally pregnant and no one would be aware of it,” the public prosecutor writes. “She panicked and searched for a place to leave the child behind.”
The newborn child – who has been named Arthur – was later found in the centre of Antwerp on Tuesday afternoon in the entrance hall of an apartment building. The cleaning lady immediately called emergency services. She played a crucial role in this story, said Willem Migom of Antwerp police.
The Antwerp police’s local youth and family criminal investigation service were able to identify a 38-year-old woman using camera images, among other things. On Monday evening she was arrested and confessed that she was the mother and had left the baby behind.
The woman was unaware of the existence of a “vondelingenschuif” (baby hatch) in Antwerp, where mothers can anonymously leave their baby in safe conditions, said the office.
If charged with leaving a minor child the woman could face one month to three years and a fine of 26 to 300 euros.
The child is currently staying in a specialized care centre. It is likely that a foster family will be sought.