KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City police continue to investigate a case of child abandonment after a man dropped off a 6-year-old boy at a fire station earlier this week.
Firefighters say the man claimed to be the boy’s father and told them he could no longer take care of the child.
Under Missouri law, a parent can leave their baby, up to one-year-old, with an on-duty employee at any hospital, fire department, emergency medical worker or law enforcement agency and not face criminal charges.
“I don’t believe he was crying. I think the firefighters went in and got him a soda pop and went out to play basketball for a few minutes while they decided that they were going to take him over to Children’s Mercy,” said Chief Paul Berardi with the Kansas City Fire Department.
At noon on Monday, fire officials say a man showed up with the boy and told firefighters he could no longer take care of him. He then turned around and left.
After being taken to the hospital, firefighters learned Children’s Mercy knew who the boy was. Berardi said firefighters left after turning over custody of the boy to a state social worker.
This is not a case that falls under Missouri’s “Safe Haven” law because of the boy’s age.
“In this case, obviously being 6 years old is outside the safe haven statute. And we should then call the police. In this case we actually took him to the hospital,” Beradi said.
Police say it’s not important to them they were not immediately notified. Police said firefighters did the right thing by taking care of the boy, and detectives are now actively searching for the adult responsible for him.
“No matter what you’d be hard pressed to find any firefighter who would turn a child away and not take care of him. That’s what they did.”
The Missouri Department of Social Services declined to comment on the case saying the law prohibits it.