DEBARY — A man who said he found an abandoned newborn girl wrapped in newspapers outside a central Florida convenience store was arrested Monday and charged with lying to investigators.
Ralph Garlick Jr., 53, originally told investigators that he had found the baby after hearing her cry, Volusia County sheriff's deputies said. He flagged down a newspaper deliveryman, who then called 911.
Garlick identified himself to authorities using his dead brother's name, but under further questioning, he admitted the baby belonged to his girlfriend, although he isn't the father, officials said. Garlick said his 34-year-old girlfriend didn't want the newborn girl and that he was trying to find a safe place for the baby, authorities said.
Garlick also told investigators that the girl was born early Monday morning in an apartment complex in Orange City.
Volusia County Sheriff's Office spokesman Gary Davidson said the false name was the first indication that the story may not be accurate. But investigators also found it odd that, based on his story, he would have had to pass a Sheriff's Office substation, yet he didn't stop there to alert authorities to the so-called abandoned baby.
"That would have been a safe location he could have gone to," Davidson said.
The baby was taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, where doctors said she appeared to be in good condition, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office. Once the baby is medically cleared, she will be turned over to the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Under Florida law, a newborn can be left at a public place, such as a fire station or police station without any legal repercussions.
Garlick is charged with two misdemeanors — knowingly giving false information to law enforcement during an investigation and resisting an officer without violence. He was booked into the Volusia County Jail and faces bail of up to $5,000.
Volusia County Sheriff's Office spokesman Gary Davidson said investigators were determining whether the newborn's mother would face charges. She was taken to Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford, where she was being questioned by investigators. Authorities haven't released her name.