MIAMI — Police in Miami arrested a woman who allegedly left her 2-year-old daughter with a stranger at Mercy Hospital.
Police say 33-year-old Carolina Vizcarra asked a man to watch her daughter while she went to the restroom, and never returned. The man just happened to be an off-duty police officer who called for help.
“She hands off the child to this unknown man,” police spokeswoman Kaina Fallat told news outlets, the Associated Press reports. “Luckily, he was a police officer and what was going through his mind was he went into police mode.”
The Miami Police Department tweeted a picture of the daughter on Tuesday, asking for help locating the parents of the child.
The police tweeted the next day that the mother was found and arrested.
An arrest report says Vizcarra told authorities she did it to keep her from sleeping on the streets.
"It’s not like I just left her. It’s a hospital and I was worried for her. I was thinking about sleeping on the streets, but not her," the Associated Press reports Vizcarra told investigators before she was booked into jail.
The mother now faces a child abandonment charge while Florida's Department of Children and Families has custody of the girl.
“We want to know what her mental state was,” Fallat told the AP. “We want to know what she was thinking when she was handing off her child to this unknown man.”
Florida's Safe Harbor law protects parents who decide to leave their children in a "designated safe place," but only if they're up to seven days old, the AP explains.