HONOLULU, HI - A day after a woman reported finding an
abandoned newborn crying in the sand on a Hawaii beach, police arrested her and revealed she's the baby's mother.
Keala Simeona, 21, of Honolulu, was arrested Tuesday for filing a false police report. Police don't expect to pursue additional offenses at this time. She posted $250 bail and was released.
She had told police she was parked at Sandy Beach in east Honolulu sometime between 11:30 p.m. Sunday and midnight when she heard several people screaming. After the screaming stopped, she said, she walked toward the ocean and found the naked newborn and took her to a hospital.
It's up to Family Court to decide whether to return the child to her family or whether parental rights will be terminated, the state Department of Human Services said in a statement. An initial hearing is scheduled for Monday.
To determine parentage, the department plans to ask the court to order the mother to submit to DNA testing. It will also seek DNA testing for the father, if a father is identified.
Department Director Patricia McManaman said Monday that the full-term, 8-pound baby was born immediately before she was found. However, officials couldn't pinpoint an exact time of birth. The baby was doing well and drinking formula at the hospital, McManaman said, while police investigated the case as child abandonment.
A woman who answered the phone at Simeona's home identified herself as her sister said she wasn't home.
A spokeswoman for the human services department said officials had just learned about Simeona's arrest and didn't yet have any comment. The department had planned to file a petition this week with family court, seeking custody if no family came forward to claim the baby.
Human services officials are informally calling her Baby Sandy.