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Parents could lose rights to found baby

By Janice Gregorson

gregor@postbulletin.com

A decision could be made next week on terminating the parental rights of the biological parents of a newborn found in a Rochester restaurant in October. A closed court hearing is set for 2 p.m. Tuesday in Olmsted District Court.

Assistant Olmsted County Attorney Geoffrey Hjerleid said that if the biological parents don't attend the hearing, he will ask the court to terminate their parental rights.

That also means the foster parents who have cared for the infant since he was found could begin adoption procedures. Hjerleid said that process could also move quickly. He said the foster parents have indicated they want to adopt the baby and, as licensed foster parents, have already gone through all of the pre-adoption screening required.

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Legal notices for the hearing began appearing in the Post-Bulletin in November, after the state filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of the unknown parents of Baby Boy Doe.

The infant was found by a 16-year-old boy at the McDonald's restaurant near Apache Mall about 11:45 p.m. on Oct. 13. Police said the Rochester teen found the infant in a duffel bag in the men's bathroom. The baby was taken to Saint Marys Hospital, where he was determined to be between six and 12 hours old. The baby was in good health and still had its umbilical cord.

The baby's parents haven't come forward, Hjerleid said, despite the publicity and assurances that they would not be prosecuted for leaving the infant.

If the parents attend Tuesday's hearing, they can admit or deny the allegations in the petition. If they admit the allegations, the judge can proceed with the hearing. If they deny abandoning the infant, a trial will be scheduled.

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