Baby 59, the newborn boy who was rescued from a sewer pipe after he fell or was placed in a toilet, has been discharged from Zhejiang Pujiang People’s Hospital, according to the Daily Telegraph.
On Thursday morning, a hospital official who declined to be named, told The Daily Telegraph the child had now been released. “We just know that the family came yesterday, accompanied by county public security officers, and took away the baby,” he said.
There were conflicting reports in the Chinese media about whether the baby boy had been handed over to his mother, who was initially reported to be facing attempting murder charges, or the biological father.
Citing an “inside source” at the hospital, the Qianjiang Evening News reported that on Wednesday night “a man who claimed to be the baby’s biological father appeared at the hospital and picked the baby up.” The local Metropolis Express claimed “the father secretly went to the hospital and picked up the baby when there were few people around.” Those accounts were contradicted by state-run CCTV which reported that the baby had been taken away by its 22-year-old mother who has not been named.
It is unclear whether authorities plan to prosecute the mother for attempted murder, she has claimed that Baby 59 slipped into the toilet by accident after a surprise birth. According to Xinhua:
According to the Criminal Law, whoever refuses to support an aged person, sick person, minor or any other person who cannot live independently, if the circumstances are flagrant, shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than five years criminal detention or public surveillance.
It is possible that the woman might violate the Criminal Law in this regard, according to Ruan Fangmin, a professor of criminal jurisprudence at Zheijiang University’s Guanghua Law School. But he said it is also possible that the case will be dealt with as an abandonment instead of as a crime.