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Mother took Phoenix newborn from hospital after he tested positive for drugs, police say | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey


PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — New court documents say a mother who allegedly took her newborn from a Phoenix hospital was battling drug addiction and thought she’d lost custody after the baby had tested positive for fentanyl.

The court paperwork released Thursday said 24-year-old Rosa Santana gave birth to the boy on July 6 at Valleywise Health Medical Center on Roosevelt Street near 24th Street. Drug tests showed the newborn had fentanyl in his umbilical cord, and Santana was suffering from opioid withdrawal, police said. The boy was put in the pediatric intensive care unit after birth and a feeding tube was attached to him.

On Wednesday, Santana placed the boy in a black duffel bag and left the hospital around 11:40 a.m., according to court documents. Police said she still had custody since the Department of Child Safety hadn’t served her with a court order taking away her parental rights. Phoenix police say officers were called at 1:17 p.m. after medical staff realized that the mom and baby were missing. Valleywise says staff took quick action and called 911 shortly after noticing the child was missing. “Phoenix police officers were called to the hospital at 1:17 p.m. so that came in as a 911 emergency call as a missing child,” said Sgt. Brian Bowers. He says that for more than five hours, detectives worked with the hospital to prove the newborn met the strict requirements for an AMBER Alert to be issued.

Detectives said they used her cellphone to track Santana to an apartment complex near 71st Avenue and Indian School Road. Santana was found unconscious with drug paraphernalia in her hand. Court documents say fentanyl was on a piece of paper and Santana used a straw to inhale it. The newborn was on the same bed as her, partially wrapped in a blanket. Phoenix police say the baby is now back at the hospital to continue medical treatments.

During an interview with police, Santana said when she found out that morning that her son had tested positive for fentanyl and she feared he would be taken from her, court documents say. Her previous three children were removed from her custody by DCS. She told police she didn’t think the newborn was in any danger and had been improving and feeding without his tube. Santana was booked into jail for felony child abuse charges.

To be declared an AMBER Alert, investigators need to prove it involves a child who is not a runaway or part of a custody dispute. The victim has to be in danger of injury or even death, and there needs to be enough of a description of the victim and suspect. “Medical staff were able to indicate to those patrol officers that, yes, this child needs to have medical aid,” Bowers said.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety, the state agency responsible for AMBER Alerts, issued one around 7 p.m. “In my 16 years experience, this is the first time a 5-day-old infant has been abducted from a hospital, so that’s a very different scenario than someone abducting a child and racing down the freeway,” said DPS spokesman Bart Graves.

A newborn is back at a Phoenix hospital and his mother is in custody after being taken on Wednesday, sparking an AMBER Alert.

However, the alert never went out as an alert to Arizona residents’ mobile phones. “So there is no vehicle description. And in terms of the 5-day-old baby, we did not have sufficient descriptive info to go with,” Graves said. “That negated the reason to put that out on the phone.”

Details on how Santana was able to leave the hospital remains unclear. However, Valleywise has released a statement to Arizona’s Family saying that they took quick action once they were alerted to the child going missing.

Editor’s Note: Police initially said officers responded to the hospital at 11:40 a.m. This information has been updated to reflect officers responded to a missing child call at 1:17 p.m.

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