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Mother likely wanted baby to live

SEMINOLE - The baby dubbed "Seminole Sam" was born to a woman who did not want to keep him. But apparently she did want him to survive. When she abandoned her newborn son Sunday, she chose a safe place - a spot Blessed Sacrament Church parishioners soon would pass.

It probably was a deliberate choice, said Pinellas County sheriff's Sgt. Greg Tita.

"Either she knew there would be a service at the church soon or the Lord was looking out for the baby," Tita said Monday. "It looks like the baby was born elsewhere, and she placed him where he would have been found fairly quickly."

Sheriff's detectives continued searching for the baby's parents Monday and learned through questioning residents around the church that the boy had been abandoned at least 30 minutes before he was found, he said.

A jogger who passed the church about 5:30 p.m. Sunday told detectives he saw a woman in an old, light-brown station wagon pull out of the church parking lot. The station wagon, which had wood-frame paneling, headed north on 116th Street. A small child also might have been in the car, Tita said.

The jogger told detectives he saw a white bundle at the church, but he was unaware that the bundle was a baby, Tita said.

"He just saw something white in the bushes and didn't stop because he didn't realize what it was," Tita said.

It was uncertain whether the woman a parishioner saw praying near a statue at the church about 5 p.m. was the same woman driving the station wagon.

Named "Seminole Sam" by paramedics who treated him, the baby was in good condition Monday at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.

The infant weighed 6 pounds, 5 ounces, according to hospital officials.

Physicians told detectives the infant was 2 to 6 hours old when he was found. The baby was discovered about 6 p.m. Sunday by a woman walking her dog through the parking lot of the church, at 11565 66th Ave. N. The infant was partly wrapped in a white sheet and placed under shrubbery behind the church.

Detectives have few leads in the case, Tita said. Anyone with information about the baby or his parents is asked to call sheriff's Corp. Lee Miller at (813) 587-6300.

The state Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services will take custody of the infant when he is released from the hospital.

Ordinarily, abandoned infants are cared for in temporary shelter homes and become eligible for adoption after 60 days.