Tips Fail to Lead Police to Baby's Mother

By MANDY LOCKE

One week after a baby was abandoned on the steps of St. Augustine's Church in Vineyard Haven, police have still not found the infant's mother.

"We're not much further along than we were last week, but we're still aggressively working on it," said State Police Sgt. Jeff Stone, a detective assigned to the Cape and Islands district attorney's office.

Tips began flooding the Tisbury and state police stations Tuesday morning as soon as word of the abandoned child circulated through the community. Sergeant Stone said police have pursued each of those leads, but to no avail. As of yesterday, they had eliminated any known suspects.

"A lot of names came into the station. We've checked out all of them, and they turned out to just not be true. We have no outstanding questions about individuals we know about," said Sergeant Stone.

Meanwhile, Baby Vinnie - nicknamed by social workers in Boston playing off his Vineyard discovery - is thriving. Boston Children's Hospital doctors moved him out of the neonatal intensive care unit yesterday. Baby Vinnie is breathing and eating on his own, but remains in the hospital.

"He's going to be a healthy little baby," said Denise Monteiro, spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Department of Social Services (DSS).

The infant, wrapped only in bed linens, suffered hypothermia after being exposed to a sprinkler on the lawn of St. Augustine's Church for several hours Tuesday morning. A woman on her way to work discovered the baby around six o'clock. Vineyard emergency service personnel and the staff of Martha's Vineyard Hospital stabilized the child before transporting him to Boston Children's Hospital.

DSS has temporary custody of the baby until his family can be found. The agency already prepared a list of foster families trained and medically equipped to take in the infant and planned to make a final selection early this week.

"We'll select one that's had a little medical training in case there's any fallback," said Ms. Monteiro.

These households have also expressed interest in adoption. DSS intends to allow the foster parents to begin bonding with the baby early this week.