Wednesday night an Amber Alert was triggered after an Arizona mother removed her newborn baby from a Phoenix hospital. When police found the mother a few hours later, she was unconscious with the baby and drugs right by her side.
On Thursday police released details of the situation. Three hours after the Arizona Department of Public Safety issued an Amber Alert, 24-year-old Rosa Santana was found at an apartment near 71st Avenue and Indian School Road.
The baby was safe, laying next to his mother’s drug paraphernalia and a piece of paper that authorities believe to contain fentanyl.
The story begins last Thursday, when Santana gave birth at the Valleywise Medical Health facility near 24th Street and Roosevelt.
Medical records state that her baby, a son, tested positive for having fentanyl in his umbilical cord sample. This report indicates Santana had been using the drug during her pregnancy for quite some time.
Upon birth, the newborn suffered from opioid withdrawal. Doctors were concerned for the newborn’s wellbeing and placed the baby in the pediatric intensive care unit for much needed further care. He was placed on a feeding tube and required a morphine drip.
On Wednesday, Santana wrapped her son in a blanket, put him in a duffel bag and smuggled the baby out of the hospital around 1:10 p.m.
Authorities believe that Santana knew her son would be removed from her care given her past history of having children taken from her. During an interview with police, Santana acknowledges that she knew her son was fentanyl-positive. She admitted to police DCS had taken her three previous children and knew her newborn would be removed also.
“There was not fentanyl around my son,” Rosa Santana told a judge during her initial court appearance. “I never wanted this to happen. I never tried to hurt my own son. I was trying to avoid a bunch of drama.”
Santana felt her son wasn’t in any medical danger and said she fed her son upon arriving at the apartment. She said she only took fentanyl after he fell asleep.
The newborn has since been taken back to the hospital to continue his treatment. Santana was booked into jail. She is accused of felony child abuse. Santana is being held on a $10,000 cash bond. If she is released, she will be required to wear an ankle monitor and be drug tested.
Valleywise Health released the following statement:
“Valleywise Health maintains, trains and drills on emergency response protocols for emergency situations like the one that occurred yesterday. The Valleywise Health team was alerted when the baby and mother went missing from their acute care hospital room and these protocols were implemented immediately. We notified the Phoenix Police Department and began quickly securing access points throughout the medical center, surveillance of parking lots, mobilization of medical center staff and security personnel in search of the missing mother and infant.”
“On Wednesday, July 12, a mother removed her 5-day-old infant from Valleywise Health Medical Center against medical advice. In response to this incident, Valleywise Health took immediate action to search for the mother and infant and is fully cooperating with law enforcement. We believe that the safety and security of each patient is integral to the mission of our hospital. We are appreciative of the swift actions of our team members and will continue to work with law enforcement to ensure a safe return of the infant. We believe the safety and security of each patient is integral to the mission of our hospital. We are grateful to our team members, law enforcement, community members and our local media for helping in the quick and safe return of the baby and are happy to report he is in good condition.”