Execution of Safe Haven law in question

Baby Safe Haven (KSN File Photo)

WICHITA, Kansas — A lot of people are curious about why police released a photo Thursday of a woman who left her newborn at an area hospital. Her actions fell under the Safe Haven law and yet her photo was still released.

KSN looked into why police felt it necessary to share the picture since many people feel it violated her privacy.

They answered that they made the best decision they could given the circumstances.

“We were concerned about her welfare and we wanted to follow up on that and fortunately we had some citizens that helped us out and we appreciate them and the situation has been resolved,” said Lt. Doug Nolte with the Wichita Police Department.

The Safe Haven law allows women to give birth or drop off their newborn up to 45 days after the child is born.

Police say that while the law does not allow for parents to remain anonymous, they did not release the woman’s picture because she gave up her child. The said the call they made to the public was to benefit the woman’s health and welfare.

“That’s probably one of the things that’s difficult for people to understand,” said Nolte. “When we make decisions we have to take all the facts into consideration and take that action.”

KSN asked how often police ask the public for its help finding someone for their own welfare but they did not have those numbers for us.

KSN also looked into the hospital’s reasons as to why they released the information and in a statement they said they initially reported to law enforcement they had a missing patient and there was a potentially serious threat to the mother’s health and safety.

The administrator for Via Christi did say though that they did not release any information to the public or to the media.

When KSN asked the police why the fact of that the woman just had a baby needed to be released, they could not give any concrete answers. Instead, they said that the investigator in charge made that call.

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