Delivery alert

There may be an issue with the delivery of your newspaper. This alert will expire at NaN. Click here for more info.

Recover password

DNA evidence leads to Arizona arrest in baby abandonment

PHOENIX — A 24-year-old Mesa woman who was arrested after being located through DNA evidence and an unrelated arrest warrant is accused of abandoning a newborn girl last year.

Maricela Rocio Perez acknowledged giving birth in March 2016 and placing the hours-old baby in front of a home after deciding against taking the infant to a fire station designated as no-questions-asked haven for newborns, Mesa police said.

Perez was arrested last week and remained jailed Tuesday on suspicion of child abuse and endangerment. It was not immediately known whether she has an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

Police tried unsuccessfully in 2016 to identify the person who left the baby in the front yard of the home of a couple who called 911 after their son spotted the child.

The infant, whose umbilical cord was still attached, was treated at a hospital for low blood sugar and a dangerously low body temperature, police said.

Detective Nik Rasheta, a police spokesman, said information on the child’s current situation was not immediately available.

A probable cause statement said Perez told police she “could not explain being pregnant to her current boyfriend as this was not his child.”

“The defendant admitted she knew the fire station offers a Safe Baby Haven but she was concerned about being asked questions about the new baby and the fact that the baby might have meth in her system,” the statement added.

Police said officers located Perez in Mesa after getting a DNA match from evidence in blood found on the baby’s car seat carrier.

Police said the DNA hit resulted from a criminal case in Pima County Superior Court in Tucson.

In that case, a warrant was issued for Perez on Aug. 11, the same day that authorities filed a petition to revoke her probation, according to court records.

Perez had pleaded guilty May 23 to facilitation to commit theft of means of transportation. She previously pleaded not guilty to burglary and other crimes.