MIAMI – The mother of a young girl who was abandoned Tuesday at a Miami hospital has been located and arrested, authorities confirmed Wednesday morning.
Miami police said the woman, identified as Carolina Vizcarra, 33, left her 2-year-old daughter with an off-duty police officer on Tuesday, also handing him her daughter’s Social Security card and telling him she was going to the restroom at Mercy Hospital before walking away.
According to her arrest report, the officer followed Vizcarra and told her, “You don’t have to do this.”
“Leave me alone,” Vizcarra said before leaving the hospital, the report stated.
“She hands off the child to this unknown man,” Miami Police Officer Kenia Fallat said. “Luckily he was a police officer and what was going through his mind was he went into police mode.”
That officer is employed by the Miami Police Department, authorities said.
“He’s got this little girl that he is holding and he can only go so far and follow her,” Fallat said. “He immediately called for help.”
Police said a “Be On the Lookout” was issued, but the mother wasn’t immediately found.
According to her arrest report, Vizcarra called a detective around 5:40 p.m. Tuesday and said she was at the hospital looking for her baby girl and provided a description of her daughter’s clothing, which matched the description on the BOLO.
The report stated that three officers responded to the hospital and spoke with the mother, who spontaneously told one of them, “It’s not like I just left her. It’s a hospital and I was worried for her. I was thinking I am about to sleep on the streets, but not her.”
Vizcarra was arrested on a child abandonment charge.
Authorities said they are looking at hospital surveillance footage.
“We want to know what her mental state was,” Fallat said. “We want to know what she was thinking when she was handing off her child to this unknown man.”
Under Florida’s Safe Haven Law, only newborns not more than a week old can be dropped off at a hospital, fire station or emergency medical services station anonymously without fear of prosecution.
Vizcarra appeared in bond court Wednesday and told the judge that she is currently homeless and keeps in contact with her domestic violence advocate who is trying to get her housing.
Bond was set at $5,000 and the judge said Vizcarra would be released to a program that will help her find housing.
Vizcarra now has a stay away order from her daughter and is not allowed to have any contact with her.
The toddler initially went into the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families until Wednesday, when a dependency hearing was held.
The girl was ultimately placed with her step mother and half siblings, who appeared virtually in the hearing.
“Yeah, they were missing her a lot since the last time we had seen her was 7 months,” the stepmother told the judge.
Another dependency hearing will be held at a later date before any decision can be made in regards to whether or not Vizcarra will have visitation rights to see her daughter.
Local 10 News reporter Annaliese Garcia contributed to this report.