Mother arrested for child endangerment after newborn baby found at Santa Rosa homeless camp, police say

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- A baby boy is in the hospital with "significant medical issues" after the newborn infant was found Tuesday at a homeless camp in Santa Rosa, officials said.

The San Rosa Police Department says the baby boy was about 1 week old when a homeless services worker found the child. He was with a woman who was not his mother.

"The transient female who had the infant was well known to the worker and the police and was known to have mental health issues and to be a narcotics abuser," police said in statement. "The worker took the infant to her vehicle because it was cold outside."

Police say the homeless services worker called investigators after she was unable to find the child's mother.

"Officers determined the infant had unknown medical issues and had an ambulance respond to the scene," police said. "The infant was transported to Memorial Hospital and found to have significant medical issues. The issues were so significant that the infant was ultimately transferred to Children's Hospital of Oakland for further care."

Police say officers eventually found the baby's mother in the transient camp under Highway 101 near 5th Street. That's where the social worker originally found the child.

"When the mother was contacted, she was uncooperative with police and would not identify herself or the infant," police said. "She also made no attempts to inquire as to the infant's well being or location."

Police believe the mother had given birth to the infant the week prior in an RV.

"The officers were unable to determine if the infant had ever received any medical care since his birth," police said.

The child's mother was identified a 38-year-old Jennifer Lynn Payment of Santa Rosa and booked at the Sonoma County Jail for felony child endangerment, according to police.

Child Protective Services is assisting with the investigation.
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