Woman faces charges after baby abandoned in bushes outside Calgary home

A three-month-old baby was left in the bushes outside a home in northwest Calgary as the temperature hovered around –15 C early Tuesday morning, police say.

3-month-old baby located in freezing weather near Capitol Hill house

The baby was placed in some bushes outside a house in Capitol Hill in northwest Calgary. (CBC)

A woman is facing charges of child abandonment and failing to provide the necessaries of life after a three-month-old baby was found in bushes outside a northwest Calgary home Tuesday morning as the temperature hovered around –15 C.

Police were called at about 2:30 a.m. from a home in the 2500 block of 16A Street in Capitol Hill.

The caller reported a woman was at the door holding a baby, police say.

When officers arrived, they located the woman, but say she didn't have a baby with her. 

A search was launched and a baby boy was found abandoned nearby. Emergency services initially said the baby was four months old, but police later said he is three months.

The baby was taken to hospital suffering from mild hypothermia and other exposure-related concerns, said EMS spokesperson Stuart Brideaux.

Baby located in snowbank under tree

Police arrested a woman they say is the baby's mother.

Acting Staff Sgt. David McMath said police believe the woman may have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

"The child was located under a tree in a snowbank," he said.

"Given the temperature last night, it could have been a much more dangerous situation than it turned out to be. The child was being carried in her arms. There was no carrier and the child was not dressed for the conditions."

Initial fears that 2 children were abandoned

Police said in a release the woman mentioned another child, leading investigators to believe she may have abandoned another one nearby.

They said they immediately conducted an extensive search and later confirmed she only had one child. 

He was placed in the custody of Child and Family Services. 

Other 'failing to provide the necessaries' cases

Although unusual in everyday parlance, the word "necessaries" — not "necessities" — is the term the legal system uses and is, in fact, an actual noun.

It's not the only recent case of an Alberta parent being charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life. 

Among them, Calgary mother Tamara Lovett was convicted in January of failing to provide the necessaries of life and negligence causing death in relation to the fatal illness of her seven-year-old son. 

Ryan Lovett died from a Group A strep infection in 2013. Lovett testified during the trial that she gave her son holistic remedies for what she believed was a cold or flu before his death.

The Lovett case raised echoes of that of Ezekiel Stephan, a 19-month-old from southern Alberta who died of bacterial meningitis that his parents had been treating with remedies that included hot peppers, garlic, onions and horseradish. 

David Stephan and his wife Collet were convicted by a Lethbridge jury in April 2016 after their trial was told they used naturopathic remedies rather than seeking medical treatment for the boy, Ezekiel.