In 1986 a beautiful baby girl was born. Her name was Loralei Sims at first it was known that she was kidnapped. Her mom went to the neighbors house to tell them
that Loralei had been kidnapped. A few days later her little body was found in the woods.
At first the authorities went with Loralei's mother Paula's story. Until they found Loralei's body in the woods near the Sims' home.
Loralei Sims Birth: Jun. 5, 1986
Death: Jun. 17, 1986
In 1989 another beautiful baby girl was born. Her name was Heather Sims. The same thing happened to Heather as it did to her sister. However Paula had moved to a different house in a different neighborhood. Paula used the same excuse when Heather was missing.
Both times Paula's husband was not home at the time in Loralei & Heather's
abduction case. With Heather's abduction story Paula's husband found Paula on the floor as she was attacked.
What actually happened was that Paula was suspected of suffocating Heather with a pillow. Paula put her into a black garbage bag and drove to her parent's house.
While they were gone she put Heather's body in their freezer only to remove
Heather's body later and take it to a park and threw Heather away, just like a piece of trash. Someone found Heather's body in the garbage can after he had opened it to see what was inside.
When the authorities went into the Sims' home this time they could not believe
what they saw. There was not a picture or anything to show that the Sims' had 2
daughters. Only their son's pictures were up on the wall and elsewhere.
Paula was finally convicted of murdering her 2 daughters. Many people believe that Paula Sims killed her daughters, just for the reason that Paula did not want girls.
Heather Sims Birth: Mar. 18, 1989
Death: Apr. 29, 1989
In California, two newborns were abandoned by their mothers just days after the state passed its law. At least 11 babies have been discarded in Florida since last July, despite that state's new law.
But 98 other newborns have been found alive and abandoned – often in dangerous conditions – and authorities say many young women still have not heard about the law.
The state's Safely Surrendered Baby Law allows a parent or legal guardian to confidentially surrender a newborn three-days old or younger to any hospital emergency room or other designated site without fear of arrest, as long as the baby has not been abused or neglected.
In one case last month, a 17-year-old migrant worker secretly gave birth to a two-month premature, 3½-pound girl. She gave birth in a toilet, the only private spot in or around a lettuce field.
She then went home, leaving the newborn floating face-up in waste, where her body temperature plummeted to 80.5 degrees. Another worker heard the baby crying and deputies were called.
The mother, a Mixtec Indian from Mexico who is not being identified because of her age, was charged in juvenile court. If convicted of attempted murder, she could be imprisoned until she's 25.
She arrived in Monterey County three months ago and lived and worked with her older sister, who said she didn't know the girl was pregnant.
"This is the most frightened, delicate, childlike person I've run into in a long time," said her lawyer, Miguel Hernandez. "She's not a criminal."
Blanca Zarazua, honorary Mexican consul, first visited the mother in the hospital. She said she'd be very surprised if the girl received any prenatal care, let alone knew of the Safely Surrendered Baby law.
"Word of something positive that could keep you out of trouble doesn't seem to get out there as fast," she said, adding the girl remains weak, fragile and disoriented. "She's just overwhelmed by what's transpired."
Authorities have trouble targeting campaigns about the law because parents are not obligated to share any information about their background or their reasons for giving up the child.
"It's all over the map in terms of age, ethnicity, socio-economics ... there's no profile," according to Andrew Roth, a spokesman for the state Department of Social Services, which collects the numbers. "All women of childbearing age is a pretty broad demographic."
Despite problems educating the public, the numbers of babies being safely surrendered are steadily increasing. In 2001, only two babies were surrendered, while this year, California is on track to see about 30 young lives saved.
The numbers of abandoned babies have dropped as well – 30 the first year, then 33, 25, and 10 in the first five months of this year. In fact, 2004 may be the first year when there are more babies safely surrendered than abandoned in California.
Forty-four other states have laws similar to California's, including Texas, which was the first to enact one in 1999. While babies have been safely surrendered in Texas since its Baby Moses Law was enacted, others were found dead in trash bins, shoeboxes and fields.
Texas state Rep. Geanie Morrison, who sponsored the law, said the state has not provided money to advertise the measure, so it falls to counties and cities to publicize it.
Garrison Frost, who works with Los Angeles County's First 5 commission and led the campaign, said getting the number down to zero is going to be difficult because of the difficulty in addressing the population, but the law is worthwhile.
"Every safely surrendered infant is a success," Frost said.
No one knows for sure how big the problem of baby dumping is in the United States, but 34 states have adopted laws addressing it in the past two years, said Elizabeth Nash a public policy associate with the Alan Guttmacher Institute in Washington, D.C., a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that focuses on reproductive health.
What is the Safely Surrendered Baby Law?
The Safely Surrendered Baby Law allows a parent or person with lawful custody to surrender a
baby confidentially, without fear of arrest or prosecution for child abandonment. This law allows for
at least a 14-day cooling off period, which begins the day the child is voluntarily surrendered.
During this period, the person who surrendered the child can return to the hospital to reclaim the
How Does it Work?
A parent who is unable or unwilling to care for an infant can legally and confidentially surrender
their baby within 3 days of birth. Babies may be surrendered to any public or private hospital
emergency room in California. A bracelet will be placed on the baby for identification and a
matching bracelet will be given to the parent. The bracelet will help identify the child if the parent
changes their mind during the cooling off period. A baby can be safely surrendered 24 hours a day,
7 days a week.
Does a Parent Have to Give Any Information to the people Taking the Baby?
No. Nothing is required. Hospital personnel will give the parent a medical information
questionnaire designed to gather family medical history, which would be useful in caring for the
child. It is up to the parent if they wish to give any additional information concerning the baby.
What Happens to the Baby?
Safely surrendered babies are given a medical exam and placed in a foster home or pre-adoptive
What Happens to the Parent?
Parents who safely surrender their baby may leave the hospital emergency room without fear of
arrest or prosecution for child abandonment. Their identity will remain confidential and they will
have the comfort of knowing their baby will remain in safe hands. If during the cooling off period
the parents decide that they want to reclaim the baby, they can take the identifying bracelet back
to the hospital, where staff will provide information about the baby.
The purpose of the Safely Surrendered Baby Law is to protect infants from abandonment.
Abandoning an infant puts the child in extreme danger and is also illegal. The new law helps
prevent exposing the child to the risks of abandonment and helps protect the parent from
prosecution for criminal child abandonment. Under this new law, no one ever has to abandon a
Safely Surrender Baby
White Memorial Medical Center
American Civil Liberties Union
Here are some graphics that you can use to help spread the awareness
of Safely Surrender Baby Awareness:
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without written permission. You may contact the webmistress at Angel of the Forest
Main image courtesy of Corey Wolfe