Police: 5-month-old child found alone in unsanctioned Seattle homeless camp

A 5-month-old was turned over in May to child protective services after being found in an unsanctioned homeless encampment in Seattle, police said Thursday afternoon. 

SEATTLE — KIRO 7 first reported a baby was found in a Seattle encampment on Thursday during the KIRO 7 Morning News.

Police said the baby was found the night of May 30, in an unsanctioned encampment in the 900 block of Poplar Place South. The child was reported to officers by an encampment resident concerned for the child's well-being, police said.

Officers learned residents of a tent at the encampment were reportedly using methamphetamine and that the baby living at the camp was not being properly cared for.

Officers said they found the 5-month-old alone. 

The baby was taken to Seattle Children’s Hospital and then turned over to CPS.

A resident of the encampment “facilitated the child being turned over to police,” a Seattle Police Department spokesman said Thursday.

KIRO 7 went to the homeless camp Thursday, where one person said the baby boy had been alone in an RV.

Another person said he knew the mother of the boy.

"She's getting her life intact,” the man, who didn't want to share his name, told KIRO 7. “I mean, everybody that's going through hardship needs a chance."

"What comes to mind, first of all, is, 'What would be the situation which a parent would abandon their child in that kind of situation,'” Paige Tangney, a Seattle resident, said. “I would really hope that could be sorted out and that person can be helped, and that child can be cared for.”

KIRO 7 reached out to CPS and Seattle Children's Hospital to see how the child is doing; neither could comment because of confidentiality.

A woman who brings food to the encampment was empathetic. "I'm not going to judge anybody,” Janna Pekaar, a Seattle resident, said. “I think parenting is the most difficult job in the world. They must have had a reason." 

Seattle police told KIRO 7 the mother of that child was not present when officers arrived on May 30. The mom is being investigated for child neglect.

Seattle city workers and police visited the unsanctioned encampment multiple times before this incident, previously finding hazards from moving vehicles, trash and human waste. Police said officials removed the encampment on June 14 and June 15.

In mid-June, city officials said they had about 400 unauthorized encampments around Seattle.

The city navigation team told KIRO 7 in April that only 37 percent of homeless people they contact accept offers of shelter.

The city of Seattle said in April their outreach teams were stretched so thin they averaged removing only two to three per week.

See the initial report on the baby below from KIRO 7 Morning News.

More news from KIRO 7