Police: Infant abandoned in plastic bag survived 3 days

An 8-month-old girl is expected to make a full recovery after being found alive more than 72 hours after being abandoned by her 17-year-old mother in a plastic bag behind an Elmira home, police say.

Harriette M. Hoyt, of Sayre, was charged with felony attempted second-degree murder, according to the Elmira Police Department. She put her daughter in a white plastic bag and abandoned her near bushes in the back yard of a residence in the 600 block of Walnut Street, court records state.

The infant girl, who was at an out-of-town hospital Tuesday, was discovered about 1 p.m. Tuesday by neighbors who heard what sounded like a cat crying outside a residence in the 600 block of Walnut Street, according to media partner WENY-TV.

Then they saw the girl's feet sticking out of the bag.

"Her legs were just dangling in the bag, her head was in the bag, her whole head was covered all the way down. I tore it," Kayla Seals, who rescued the girl, told WENY.

The neighbor said the child was filthy and covered in waste. After taking her out of the bag, they called the police and cleaned her up.

The infant was transported to a local hospital for evaluation and treatment. Although she was in stable condition, she was transported to another out-of-town hospital for further evaluation.

Police credited neighbors for rushing to alert authorities and rescue the child.

"Obviously, it's very heroic on their part to render aid, immediately get inside, as you would expect any decent human being to do," Elmira Police Sgt. William Solt said. "Washed up the baby as quickly as they could and did whatever they could until first responders arrived. They are truly heroes in this incident."

Chemung County Child Protective Services, New York State Police and the Chemung County District Attorney’s Office assisted in the investigation.

Hoyt was arraigned in Elmira City Court and remanded to the Chemung County Jail. She is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

If convicted of the attempted murder charge, Hoyt could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison. The investigation is ongoing, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Elmira Police Department at 737-5626 or its tip line at 271-HALT.

Follow @MaggieGilroy on Twitter

Kristen Roby contributed to this report.

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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