Police still looking for man they say tried to exchange baby for food | News

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Police still looking for man they say tried to exchange baby for food

ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- Surveillance pictures of a man carrying a baby outside a hotel have left a community wondering: Who is this man, is it his baby, and was he really trying to trade the baby for food?

Police say the man in the pictures went door to door at the Rodeway Inn at 300 Park Avenue in Orange Park around 7:30 p.m. Saturday night.

Witnesses tell police they saw this man and the baby later that night getting into a taxicab at a McDonald's. They say the man and the baby were with a woman outside the restaurant.

We talked to the Florida Department of Children and Families. Under Florida Law, if a parent decides they cannot raise or handle a baby who is seven days old or younger, they can legally drop off that child at a hospital, fire station or emergency services agency.  By doing this, you terminate your parental rights.

If the child is eight days old or older, this is not an option. But, there is other help. You can dial 211, a 24-hour hotline that can get you services you need.

HELP: 211 for Northeast Florida and 211 for Southeast Georgia

There are also homeless shelters and food banks that can connect you with food and a place to stay. And in certain cases, DCF can give you money and food stamps.

John Harrell of DCF said, "We don't want people to give up their children. Because children don't grow up well in an agency. Children don't grow up well in the system."

Harrell said there are other options such as adoption that would involve the courts. He also suggests reaching out to friends, family and your place of worship.

If you have any information about the man and the baby, call the Orange Park Police Department at (904) 264-5555.


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