Keala Simeona reported to authorities on Sunday that she found an abandoned newborn baby girl lying naked on a sandy beach in Hawaii. Just one day later, investigators found out that Simeona was actually the mother. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Keala Simeona Reported Finding an Abandoned Baby on a Hawaii Beach
21-year-old Keala Simeona told authorities that she heard several people screaming late Sunday night while she was parked at Sandy Beach in east Honolulu, reports ABC News. After the screaming stopped, she said she heard crying and found a naked newborn baby lying in the sand. Simeona rushed the little girl to a nearby hospital and turned her over.
Witness at the beach, Vincent Vanaski, told Khon News 2 that he also heard screams that night and went to investigate.
“Sounded like someone was in distress and it sounded like a female,” Vanaski said. “Saw a young female sitting at the water’s edge. I asked if the screams were coming from her and she said, ‘Yes.’ And I said, ‘Are you alright? Do you need help?’ and she said, ‘No, I cut my foot.’”
2. The Woman Turned Out to Be the Baby’s Mother
An investigation uncovered that Simeona was actually the baby’s mother, and she was arrested on Tuesday. She was charged with filing a false report, but was released after posting a $250 bail.
3. Simeona Hasn’t Made a Comment
ABC phoned the home of the woman, but report that a woman who identified herself as her sister told them that she wasn’t home.
4. The Baby is Doing Well
Patricia McManaman, Director of the Department of Human Services, says the baby, who was not injured, appears to have been born a week or two early, but is otherwise doing well.
“I think first and foremost, we’re happy to report that the female infant is doing quite well,” McManaman told Hawaii News Now. “She’s drinking formula, weighs approximately 8 pounds.”
5. The Safe Haven Law Protects the Mother
Hawaii’s “Baby Safe Haven” protects anyone from persecution who surrenders an unharmed newborn within 72 hours of the child’s birth to a hospital, fire station, police station or anywhere that has emergency services personnel. However, no one has ever used it in Hawaii before. Simeona would be the first.
“I think for all women who find themselves in this situation there are an array of options, and I think the last option that’s available to them is the Safe Haven law,” McManaman said.