Witnesses recount woman's attempt to give away baby

Updated: 02/23/2014 10:51 PM | Created: 02/23/2014 9:52 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A 24-year-old mother is in jail on Sunday night -- her infant daughter sent to the hospital.

Cops say she was trying to give the baby away in a drug store parking lot Friday night.

APD arrested Laura Lopez that night after several people called to report her acting erratically in a Walgreens parking lot on Central Ave.

The police report describes an infant girl with a bruise on her head and a very red and swollen eye.

Bystander Aaron Smith did not know any of that while he was running errands with his girlfriend Friday at the Nob Hill Walgreens.

He did hear the child screaming, and says it only took a moment to realize a baby was in danger.

"It was pretty cold out, it was windy," he said. "We heard the baby crying."

It was 38 degrees Friday night when Smith met 24-year-old Lopez.

"She seemed, you know, she was kind of jerking around like that, kind of jumping around," he said.

Her behavior worried Smith, especially because she was not alone.

Witnesses tell KOB that Lopez was standing near the entrance of the store, but her baby was in a carrier about 10 feet away.

"The child was certainly cold, I couldn't imagine otherwise," he said.

Lopez told Smith she needed a ride.

"I offered to buy her a taxi," said Smith.

But Lopez did not seem to know where she was, and refused the taxi before crossing Central to wait at a bus stop.

"She had even mentioned she was worried CYFD was going to take her child," he said.

Smith called 242-COPS twice.

"It was concerning, as far as, at least the immediate response from the city," he said.

Smith says he was relieved Lopez did not get on a bus before police arrived.

According to the officer's report, Lopez admitted to consuming a caffeinated beer called Four Loco, and said she was trying to buy more.

Witnesses say she even took off her pants and put them back on backward, and tried to give her baby away to a bystander.

Lopez's neighbors tell KOB she often carried her infant daughter up the stairs to her second floor apartment in a complex a few blocks from the Walgreens.

On Sunday, a box of diapers sat on the balcony of her unit -- a chilling image after what Smith says he saw.

"Err on the side of caution," he said. "If you see something going on and you have the means to step in and try and help, please do."

Smith and at least one other person called to report Lopez.

Though the child was described in the police report as being bruised, Lopez is charged with the lesser -- child abuse without great bodily harm.

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