It was a bright Monday morning in July 2016 and nine-year-old Elysia Laub was out and about in her family’s garden. She lived with her mom, Heidi, her seven-year-old sister Josie and her brother Jude, 4. Moreover, their home was on a three-acre spread with trees and lawns. So, there was plenty of space for the children to play there.
As well as space, the family also had a penchant for animals. Indeed, they actually had a pig sty with several pigs and piglets on their property. Their homestead was located on the 18000 block of White Oak Avenue, in a rural area a little more than three miles west of the city of Lowell, Indiana.
That morning, Elysia wandered off with her brother Jude to the edge of the property. The pair walked towards a grove of trees next to a lawn. Her attention was subsequently caught by a strange noise that sounded a little bit like crying. Curious, she approached the source of the disturbance.
As she drew closer to the sound, she saw something pink in the undergrowth. “I don’t know, it just freaked me out. I didn’t know what it was,” Elysia subsequently told CBS Chicago. In fact, she initially thought it might be one of the family’s piglets that had escaped from its sty.
However, it was no fugitive piglet that Elysia had found. Speaking to the Northwest Indiana Times Elysia’s mom said, “I was out on my back porch talking to my sister, and my daughter came running up with my son and said something was moving in the yard that has pink legs. She didn’t know if it was a baby pig or a person because she didn’t want to get too close.”
“I started walking there and saw the pink arms and legs,” Heidi continued. “I dropped the phone and ran out there and scooped the baby up.” This was certainly no piglet. In fact, it was a human baby, lying abandoned on the ground, all alone.
“I told Elysia to run inside and call 911,” Laub recalled. “She was pretty calm and gave our address. I got the baby inside. My other daughter brought a baby blanket and I wrapped her up and just held the baby until Lake County came with an ambulance. They were awesome.”
Lake County Sheriff John Buncich said that Elysia had acted as a guardian angel for the abandoned baby. “If you think about it, if that nine-year-old had not gone out in that yard to play, what a tragic result could have occurred,” Sheriff Buncich told the Northwest Indiana Times.
Speaking to a reporter from CBS Chicago, Sheriff Buncich said, “We’ve called her a ‘miracle baby Jane Doe.’” Elysia added, “I didn’t do this myself, somebody helped me.” “Who?” the CBS reporter asked. Elysia’s answer? “God.”
When Elysia and her mom found the baby, it seemed like it hadn’t been there for long. Indeed, the tiny infant still had its umbilical cord and placenta, indicating that it had been born shortly before the Laubs came across it. “If we’d have gone out there even an hour or two later, with the 90-degree weather, she wouldn’t have made it,” Heidi told the Chicago Tribune.
The baby was a little white girl who had been born after a full pregnancy and had brownish-blond hair. She was subsequently taken to the city of Crown Point’s Franciscan St. Anthony Health hospital, not far from the Laubs’ home. Thankfully, apart from minor sunburn, the infant was healthy.
Heidi said that she and her family had been out and about in their yard on the Sunday during the day. That made her think that the baby had probably been abandoned overnight, before Elysia found it on the Monday morning.
When the baby was discovered, the Lake County Sheriff’s Department drafted in one of its helicopters, as well as police dogs, to search for the baby’s mother. Unfortunately, they were unable to find her. “We’d like to locate the mother,” said Sheriff Buncich. “We’d like to talk to her. We are asking anybody to come forth with any knowledge about anybody who may have done this.”
Heidi Laub expressed her family’s mixed feelings about finding the baby. “We feel happiness the baby was OK, scared the baby was placed there and sadness for the mother,” she told the Northwest Indiana Times. “It didn’t hit us until last night.”
“It’s pretty far away from our house, but still in the yard to be seen,” Heidi continued. “It makes me think [the mother] wanted it to be found but she didn’t want to be seen, because it was so far from the road. It’s so sad to me that the mother did this.”
Once the “miracle baby” had been checked out at Franciscan St. Anthony Health hospital, she was subsequently placed under the care of Indiana’s Child Protective Services. What’s more, they’d found a foster home for the baby where she would be well looked after.
Later in July, the month Elysia discovered the baby, the infant’s mother was finally found. She was a teenager and Bernard Carter, the Lake County Prosecutor, said that she would almost certainly not face charges in an adult court. The girl had concealed her pregnancy from everyone, including her parents. However, six days after abandoning the baby, she confessed, according to CBS Chicago.
The exact age of the teenage mother was not revealed. However, due to her being classed as a juvenile, her case would be dealt with by the Lake County Juvenile Court. Because of her age, the authorities would also not make her name or any personal details public.
In fact, the state of Indiana has laws dealing specifically with the problem of unwanted children. Newborn infants can be handed in at a hospital, police department or fire station, without any legal consequences. Speaking to ABC Chicago, the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation’s Dawn Geres said, “They can walk away and they can feel good. They can feel that they have done something responsible and loving.”
The fact that the tiny “miracle baby” survived is a tribute to nine-year-old Elysia Laub’s presence of mind. How easy would it have been to think that the strange noise wasn’t really something to be concerned about? Nonetheless, Elysia instinctively knew that she needed to take a closer look. That meant the difference between life and death for this defenseless infant.