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The mother of a baby believed to have been abandoned at Sandy Beach has been found. In a twist, police say the woman who reported finding the newborn is actually her mother.
The woman did what state law allows and within 72 hours of birth, she left the baby to the care of a hospital. However, lying about it got her in trouble with the law.
Police say 21-year-old Makiki resident Keala Simeona took the newborn to Queen’s Medical Center late Sunday night. Simeona said she had found the girl crying and abandoned near the water’s edge.
That sparked a police investigation and search for the mother.
On Tuesday, after questioning Simeona about her story, detectives determined she is in fact the child’s mother.
Police arrested her for filing a false police report. At this time, she is not facing charges of abandonment or neglect.
Hawaii law allows the parent of a newborn to leave an unharmed baby at a police station, fire station, or hospital — no questions asked — providing immunity from prosecution.
It’s not known if Simeona knew this was an option.
Simeona has been released from custody on $250 bail.
The newborn girl remains under care of the Queen’s Medical Center.
The state plans to ask the court that Simeona submit to DNA testing to confirm she is the baby’s mother.
An initial custody hearing of the child is set for Monday. The court will decide if she is returned to her mother and family or if parental rights will be terminated.