MIAMI(CBSMiami) – The mother of a toddler who reportedly left her at a Miami hospital has been arrested.
According to police, 33-year-old Carolina Vizcarra approached a stranger, who turned out to be a Miami police officer, and another person at Mercy Hospital on Tuesday and asked if they could watch her daughter. She then gave them the girl's Social Security card and walked away.
"One of our officers was in plain clothes, off duty, attending to a family matter at the Mercy Hospital, when he was confronted by a woman who asked him to take care of her child while she goes to the restroom," said Miami police spokeswoman Kenia Fallat.
When told she didn't have to do this, Vizcarra reportedly said "leave me alone" as she left the hospital.
The Department of Children and Families Special Victims Unit was contacted and took custody of the two-year-old girl.
Just after 5:30 p.m., detectives received a call and were told that Vizcarra had returned to the hospital.
"We were able to get to the mom after she went to the hospital many hours later claiming that she left her daughter there," said Fallat.
Vizcarra told the officers "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," according to the arrest report.
"Children should not be handed off to just complete strangers. This little girl is lucky to be alive and fallen into the right hands," said Fallat.
She said the state's Safe Haven law allows only babies 7 days or younger to be left at a safe place such as a hospital.
Vizcarra was taken into custody and has been charged with one count of child abandonment.
CBS4's Peter D'Oench reported that this is a 3rd degree felony with a maximum penalty of up to 5 years in prison and a $5000 fine.
In bond court, Circuit Court Judge Mindy Glazer found probable cause for the charges and gave Vizcarra an Assistant Public Defender and allowed her to be released from jail under a special program that helps low income, non-violent offenders.
Vizcarra said, "I have lived in Miami for 3 years and I am homeless. I have family in California and I do not work. I do not have a work permit." She also said she was a victim of domestic violence.
Judge Glazer ordered her to have no contact with her daughter but also noted that under a separate case in dependency court, she could be allowed supervised visits to see her daughter. Police were trying to locate her family members. It is not clear if the child will be given to them or remain with DCF.
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