THE mother of a newborn baby found trapped in a sewage pipe has been traced by police, according to Chinese state media.
The woman, whose name has not been released, had actually been present during the two-hour ordeal to rescue the baby from the four inch wide drainpipe, but did not admit to being the mother until confronted by police.
The 22-year-old is also believed to have been responsible for originally raising the alarm about the trapped child, telling authorities she had heard the sound of a baby crying coming from her apartment building’s plumbing system.
According to the state run Dushikuaibao newspaper, police became suspicious when they found baby toys and blood-stained toilet paper in the woman's rented apartment.
Although she originally denied having anything to do with the baby, she eventually confessed after police demanded she undergo a medical check.
The woman reportedly told police she could not afford an abortion and secretly delivered the child in the toilet on Saturday afternoon. She allegedly said she had tried to catch the baby but he had slipped into the sewage pipes.
Video of the rescue of Baby No. 59 - so named because of his incubator number in the hospital – has been seen around the world, prompting both horror and an outpouring of charity on behalf of the newborn.
Zhezhong News said the woman is a high school graduate who works at a restaurant in the Zhejiang province city of Jinhua. They say she became pregnant after a one-night stand with a man who later denied any responsibility. The woman reportedly did not reveal the pregnancy to her parents, adding she wanted to raise the child but had no idea how to do it.
The baby's mother told police she cleaned up the scene in the toilet after the delivery and that she had managed to hide her pregnancy by wearing loose clothes and tightly wrapping her abdomen, Zhezhong News said.
Police initially said they were treating the case of as possible attempted homicide, but it was not immediately clear whether the mother would face criminal charges. Local police refused to comment, saying the case is under further investigation.
Firefighters were called to the residential building in the Pujiang area of Jinhua to rescue the baby, which was trapped in the L-joint of a sewage pipe just below a squat toilet in one of the building's public restrooms.
In the video, officials were shown removing the pipe from a ceiling that apparently was just below the restroom and then, at the hospital, using pliers to gently pull apart the pipe, which was about 10 centimetres in diameter.
The baby, who weighed 2.8 kilograms (6 pounds, 2.8 ounces), had a low heart rate and some minor abrasions on his head and limbs, but was mostly unhurt, according to local reports. The placenta was still attached.
News of the baby's ordeal was met with horror and pity by bloggers on Chinese sites. Most speculated that the child had been dumped by his parents down the toilet. The rescue prompted an outpouring from strangers who came to the hospital with nappies, clothing, powdered milk and offers to adopt him.