Infant surrendered at Belen baby box, mayor confirms

BELEN, N.M. – Lawmaker say, on Tuesday afternoon, someone used a baby box at a Belen fire station to safely surrender a baby.

“There’s three human beings now that I believe are in this world, because those boxes have been put in place,” said state Sen. Gregory Baca. 

Lawmakers who made these boxes possible are thrilled they’re being used to save lives. 

“The most tragic thing that we can imagine would be a parent that just gave birth, being in such a situation that they feel they have no other alternative but to, you know, place their newborn in a dumpster or some other receptacle,” said Baca. 

In the last two years, five New Mexico counties have installed baby boxes. A sixth is set to be dedicated in Roswell Wednesday. 

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham set aside $330,000 last year for each county to install a baby box, but so far all boxes are currently in rural parts of the state.

“In the rural parts of the state, I think it’s more of a priority. Those are areas where hospitals are not as readily available. And so, you know, it gives these people a place to go somewhat close to them or closer to them,” said Baca. 

Right now, someone can surrender a baby no questions asked at a hospital, fire station or police station. But the push for baby boxes came after Alexis Avila dumped her newborn baby in a Hobbs dumpster in 2021. Fortunately, the baby survived. 

Two years later, Alexee Treviso, an Artesia teen, allegedly delivered a baby boy in a hospital bathroom and left him in a trash can. He didn’t survive. Now, she’s facing murder charges. 

It’s more tragedies like those Baca believes we’re now preventing. 

“It is fantastic to give them that choice and option of placing them anonymously, within a baby box in the caring hands of, of our public servants.”

Lawmaker say they still don’t know the condition of the baby boy that was surrendered Tuesday afternoon. But Belen city officials say they plan to release more information Wednesday.