Claflin University sanitation workers discovered a nearly 6-pound newborn boy alive after he was allegedly double-bagged and placed in the trash by his mother on Wednesday.
The Orangeburg Department of Public Safety has obtained warrants accusing Claflin University student Amber Brianna Fulton of attempted murder and unlawful neglect of a child.
The 19-year-old Kingstree resident is currently receiving medical care at the Regional Medical Center.
ODPS Capt. Alfred Alexander said that both the newborn and Fulton are in good condition.
Once RMC clears Fulton, she’ll formally face charges, Alexander said.
Two custodians discovered the full-term newborn at 8:55 a.m. as they were unloading the trash collected at the Claflin University Commons dormitory on Magnolia Avenue.
According to an ODPS incident report, the custodians were placing the trash into a dumpster on Goff Avenue when they heard a noise. One of the custodians thought the noise may have been a cat or a radio.
The custodians determined that the sound was a baby crying.
“They found the bag and tore it open so the baby could breathe,” the incident report states.
The baby was not wearing any clothes or a diaper when he was discovered, Alexander said.
The custodians called campus security and Orangeburg County EMS to the dumpsters.
Medics transported the 5-pound 7-ounce newborn to RMC and investigators began to search for the baby’s mother.
Investigators searched Claflin University Commons and made contact with Fulton, who allegedly admitted to giving birth to her son about 4 a.m. Officials say she used a pair of scissors to cut the umbilical cord.
According to warrants, she placed the baby in a plastic bag and put the bag into a large black trash bag and tied the bag with a loose knot.
“Ms. Fulton proceeded to walk to the trash dumpster located at the student residential center North, behind the Claflin dining facility, and placed the bag containing the live baby into the trash dumpster,” the warrant alleges.
The warrant alleges that Fulton gave a signed statement to investigators admitting what she did.
The incident report states that Fulton told investigators she was trying to hide her pregnancy from family and friends.
Alexander said many mothers-to-be may not be aware of Daniel’s Law, which allows a parent to give up their unharmed baby to an employee of a safe haven.
In South Carolina, parents are protected from prosecution if they give up their unharmed child at a safe haven, such as hospitals, hospital outpatient facilities, law enforcement agencies, fire stations, emergency medical services stations or houses of worship.
Daniel’s Law was updated this year to protect parents who give up babies up to 60 days old.
The law is an “important safety net for people who for whatever reason need to leave an infant, because you don’t want someone leaving a baby in a dangerous place,” Children’s Trust of South Carolina Chief Communications Officer Bett Williams said.
“A lot of times, you don’t know the circumstances of the birth mother, or even the father, so this might also be a way to help them,” she said.
A similar incident, with a tragic ending, took place at Claflin University on Oct. 24, 1996.
A 22-year-old senior gave birth to a baby inside Corson Hall dormitory and investigators found her deceased newborn in a gym bag under her bed.
An autopsy indicated that the newborn was alive when the mother gave birth.
The mother of that newborn pleaded guilty to unlawful neglect of a child and was given a probationary sentence.
* This story has been changed from its original version.