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Leads few in case of deserted baby boy

As Tampa Bay focused its attention on an abandoned infant found in Seminole last week, New Port Richey Police Detective Russ Marinec expressed his frustrations in trying to find the mother of an infant abandoned in Pasco last October. "We've exhausted every lead we had ... and I really feel bad about that," he said. Marinec spent about two months trying to find the mother of a newborn boy found in front of the Richey Manor Nursing Home in the early morning of Oct. 14. But the few leads he had have faded, and the case sits inactive in the New Port Richey Police Department.

The baby, who was named "Richey" by nurses at Richey Manor, has been living with a foster family under the custody of the state Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (HRS), said Randy Tennant, West Pasco administrator for HRS. The child is doing fine and soon will be put up for adoption, Tennant said. Citing confidentiality rules, he would not say whether the boy bears the name that the Richey Manor nurses bestowed on him.

The nurses and workers at Richey Manor fell in love with the baby after housekeeper Barbara Prisel found him about 6:20 a.m., wrapped in a white tablecloth and sleeping quietly on a lounge chair outside the home. The boy was no more than 3 hours old when he was found, his umbilical cord secured with a clothespin.

Richey Manor officials called police, and the baby was taken across the street to Riverside Hospital. The boy was clean and healthy, but the identity of his parents was a mystery.

Marinec's hopes were buoyed 10 days later when a woman called Riverside Hospital and said she was the infant's mother. The woman called to check on the baby's condition, but would not give her name. Marinec appealed for the woman to contact him, saying she probably wasn't in as much trouble as she thought, but he never heard from her.

He has stopped receiving tips about the case, but said he will pursue any leads he gets. Anyone with information should call Marinec at (813) 848-1050.