Daytona Beach News-Journal carrier Anthony Ackeridge took a newborn baby into his delivery van to keep it warm Monday after a man flagged him down and told him he’d found the child wrapped in newspapers at a convenience store.
Because it was about 45 degrees, Ackeridge told the stranger to get into his Dodge van with the newborn. The child still had her umbilical cord attached and it had been tied off with a shoestring, sheriff’s spokesman Gary Davidson said.
“I turned the heater on as hot as I could get it,” Ackeridge said. “He just held the baby and was looking around.”
The man, Ralph Garlick Jr., was later jailed on charges of lying to deputies and resisting arrest. He gave deputies the name of his dead brother and a false address, they say, before later admitting his girlfriend gave birth to the baby. He later told the News-Journal’s Lyda Longa he had helped deliver the baby and took it away at the mother’s request because the baby’s father — not him — was abusive. The baby’s mother will not face charges, a sheriff’s spokesperson told Longa.
Florida law “allows unwanted newborns to be left at a fire station, hospital or emergency medical services station without legal repercussion,” Longa wrote. A sheriff’s department spokesperson “said it’s not clear whether Garlick actually tried to leave the baby at a fire station because, according to deputies, most of what he said was untrue.”
The child is in a hospital and is doing well, Department of Children & Families officials told the paper. “She was so beautiful I wanted to take her home,” Ackeridge told Longa.