After midnight on Thursday, janitor Horace Thomas was walking to the entrance of the Family Medical Clinic in Chamblee, Georgia, in order to clean the front windows. He suddenly stopped when he thought he heard a baby cry.

Thomas told Channel 2 News he followed the noise to a blue gym bag that was sitting in the lab collection area near the entrance of the clinic.

Screenshot/Channel 2

The 63-year-old janitor immediately called the police:

“I stood and listened for a while kept going kept going, ‘That’s a baby in there!’ I was so shocked didn’t touch anything.”

According to the Chamblee Police Department, Officer Beth Frye was on duty nearby and was able to respond to the call within minutes.

Officer Frye opened the bag and found the newborn boy wrapped in a white T-shirt and placed underneath a pile of clothing. His umbilical cord was still attached.

The officer provided immediate care and rushed the baby to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, where he was reported to be in good health.

It's a Miracle Baby!!!!Shortly after midnight, Chamblee officers responded to 4861 Buford Hwy, the Family Medical…

Posted by Chamblee Police Department on Thursday, August 31, 2017

Chamblee Police Lieutenant Jason Waasdorp said in a news conference, recorded by Fox Atlanta, that the baby had been inside the bag for at least 18 hours without food or water. The 4.86 pound infant appeared to have been born prematurely.

A preliminary investigation revealed the bag had been left outside the clinic and brought in by a staff member around 7:00 a.m. The bag was left in the collections area as it was thought to be a patient’s.

Police speak about baby found in gym bag

MIRACLE BABY UPDATE: Chamblee Police are speaking about the newborn baby found inside a gym bag at a medical clinic early Thursday morning. MORE: http://bit.ly/2elnNb6

Posted by FOX 5 Atlanta on Thursday, August 31, 2017

Waasdorp explained that parental custodians can legally drop newborn babies off at designated “safe haven” facilities in order to avoid child abandonment charges.

However, in this incident, the person who left the baby had not followed the state’s safe haven provisions to leave the child in the physical custody of a staff member.

Additionally, the custodial parent needed to physically present the clinic with identification and a forwarding address.

Waasdorp said during the press conference that the person had put the baby’s life at risk:

“It is heartbreaking, but we’d like people to understand that Georgia has a Safe Haven law and under that law, you are able, as a mother, to give up your baby within 72 hours of giving birth at a medical facility. However, the mother has to leave her information with the facility.”

The person responsible could potentially face criminal charges for child abandonment, child cruelty, and other related charges.

Chamblee Police Department

Investigators are currently looking for the child’s parents. Waasdorp urged the mother, father, and other friends or family members to come forward in the best interest of the child:

“We’re asking the public to keep the baby in their prayers. And the mother, we want her to come forward and speak with us. And if she needs additional help, we’ll be able to provide that […] There’s somebody out there who knows who did this.”

As previously reported by Dearly, the number of babies in the U.S. that are abandoned each year is currently unknown. But Save Abandoned Babies, an organization working to protect babies from being abandoned, estimates that more than 3,317 have been surrendered to designated safe havens since 2001.

Every state in the U.S. has a safe haven law, though the drop-off locations and time limit varies in each state. Anyone with questions about safe haven laws can call the Save Abandoned Babies confidential hotline at (888) 510-BABY.

Currently the baby boy, who has been coined “miracle baby,” is in the custody of the Department of Family and Children Services.

Police are hailing Thomas a hero, as that baby may not be alive today had it not been for him.

If you or someone you know has information regarding the abandoned baby, you are encouraged to call the Chamblee Police Department at (770) 986-5005 or email Lieutenant Waasdorp at jwaasdorp@chambleega.gov.

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