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Yonkers Police Department Arrests, Charges Mother in Abandoned Newborn Investigation
Yonkers, NY- The Yonkers Police Department has arrested a suspect in the abandonment of a newborn baby that occurred earlier this week.
At approximately 8:30 pm on February 6, 2024, the Yonkers Police Department received a report of an abandoned baby in the hallway of an apartment building at 32 Chestnut Street in this City. Upon arrival, units located a newborn female baby in the first-floor hallway of the building. The baby had been wrapped in a blanket and was left on the floor near the entryway. Responding officers and Empress Ambulance personnel began assessing the newborn, at which time they observed her umbilical cord to be still attached with a black string wrapped around it. First Responders immediately transported her to a nearby hospital, where she was evaluated medically and stabilized.
Detectives from our Special Victims Unit, Major Case Squad, Crime Scene Unit, and Digital Forensics Unit responded to the scene to investigate. After reviewing hours of surveillance camera footage and interviewing many witnesses, investigators were able to identify the mother of the child, locate her, and determine the facts surrounding the abandonment of this child. The investigation yielded that a female had given birth to the child by herself earlier that day at approximately 3:30 pm. The female dressed the baby in a t-shirt, wrapped her in a blanket, and placed her in the hallway of 32 Chestnut Street at approximately 7:30 pm. Approximately an hour later, a resident of the building located the abandoned infant, wrapped her in an additional blanket and called for police assistance.
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The female suspect was transported to an area hospital for a medical evaluation due to her unconventional childbirth and was later released. The mother is identified as Jaqueline MARLENI PEREZ, a 21-year-old resident of this City. MARLENI PEREZ was arrested and charged with one count of Abandonment of a Child, a Class E Felony, in the New York State Penal Law. Due to laws restricting bail, the above charge is ineligible for bail. MARLENI PEREZ was arraigned in Yonkers Criminal Court today and released on her own recognizance.
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano stated, "The circumstances that occurred are heartbreaking and unfortunate, but we are thankful the baby is stable and safe. I commend the compassionate and swift actions of our Yonkers PD in finding the mother, exhibiting concern for her welfare after going through a traumatic and desperate ordeal. This is a poignant reminder that help, regardless of situation, is available to all of us – don't be afraid to reach out."
Police Commissioner Christopher Sapienza stated, "Criminal investigations involving child victims are often the most difficult to handle, a sentiment that is only amplified when the child is less than one-day-old. I commend our Detectives who worked tirelessly on this difficult case and quickly brought it to a close. We have over six Yonkers Police buildings and 12 Yonkers Fire Department buildings in this city. All of these buildings are "Safe-Haven" locations, in addition to several hospitals and other locations that are designated as appropriate places for parents to legally surrender custody of infants under 30 days old. We hope that this incident sheds light on the proper procedures to follow to avoid what could have been a horrible tragedy."
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The child remains in stable condition and is currently in the custody of Child Protective Services. The case is being prosecuted by the Westchester County District Attorney's Office, and additional information may be released as it becomes available.
NOTE: Booking charges are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
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