BEIJING — The mother of the newborn trapped in a sewer pipe in a stunning ordeal caught on video had raised the initial alarm and was present for the entire two-hour rescue but did not admit giving birth until confronted by police, reports said Wednesday.
The state-run, Hangzhou-based newspaper Dushikuaibao said police became suspicious when they found baby toys and blood-stained toilet paper in the 22-year-old woman’s rented room in the building where Saturday’s rescue occurred in eastern China.
The woman, whose name was not revealed in state media reports, confessed to police when they asked her to undergo a medical checkup.
The woman told police she could not afford an abortion and secretly delivered the child in the toilet. She said she tried to catch the baby but he slipped into the sewer line and that she alerted her landlord of the trapped baby after she could not pull the child out, the Jinhua-based Zhezhong News said.
Video of the rescue of Baby No. 59 — so named because of his incubator number in the hospital — was shown on Chinese programs and websites starting Monday and picked up worldwide, prompting both horror and an outpouring of charity on behalf of the newborn. The mother’s reported confession raises questions about whether she intended to abandon the baby, while suggesting she was desperate and did not know what to do.
The baby had a low heart rate and some minor abrasions but was mostly unhurt, according to reports.