3rd infant surrendered in Carmel Safe Haven Baby Box in 5 weeks


A third baby has been surrendered in Carmel Fire Station 45’s Safe Haven Baby Box in the last five weeks. The latest baby was dropped off May 14.

Monica Kelsey, founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, said this is the first time in the history of the organization so many infants have been surrendered in that short a time frame at the same Safe Haven Baby Box.

“It’s a historical moment for Safe Haven Baby Boxes,” Kelsey said at a May 18 press conference at Fire Station 45. “It’s been a record year for us. It’s the 11th baby surrendered to fire departments with the help of Safe Haven Baby Boxes for 2022.”

CFD firefighter/paramedic Riley Cheatham and Capt. Jeremy Maners were on duty when the baby was surrendered, and their crews helped deliver the baby to the hospital. There were 1,194 days with no babies dropped off in Carmel before that five-week period.

“The Carmel Clay community is honored that a mother in crisis would entrust a newborn baby to Carmel firefighters,” CFD Chief David Haboush said. “Our Carmel firefighters believe every baby deserves a home. We are proud to be able to do our part to make sure this baby finds its forever home. I’m happy to report this baby boy is healthy. I want to specifically thank the mother to have the courage to do what she believes is in the best interest of this child. To the mother of this child, if you need medical assistance or counseling, the Safe Haven Baby Box program is here to help you.”

Haboush said he wants mothers in crisis to know there are additional Safe Haven Baby Boxes in central Indiana, including in Westfield, Fortville, Zionsville, Lebanon, Plainfield and Brownsburg.

Kelsey was abandoned illegally two hours after her mother gave birth to her in 1973.

“These babies were legally and safely abandoned under the Indiana Safe Haven law,” Kelsey said. “It takes a special person to say I know what’s best for my child and that’s not me.”

Linda Znachko, founder of Indianapolis-based He Knows Your Name ministry, works with Safe Haven Baby Boxes. Znachko claimed an abandoned deceased baby in 2014 in Eagle Creek Park that was found 2 miles from an Indianapolis fire station. She named the baby Amelia, which means defender.

“I believe her legacy is defending the Safe Haven law, and I know that her footprint is on the logo on the Safe Haven Baby Box,” Znachko said. “I am her voice and I carry her legacy. The wonderful news is there has not been a deceased baby found in the state of Indiana since her finding.”

There are 107 active Safe Haven Baby Boxes in seven different states.