TEMPE, Ariz. - The blazing hot Arizona sun was still blaring down on a Food City parking lot, near Apache Boulevard and McClintock Drive, Sunday evening when someone walking by made a disturbing discovery.
According to Tempe police, what the passerby found was a backpack, alone in a shopping cart and inside wrapped in a blanket was a newborn baby girl.
The newborn was apparently abandoned. The passerby notified a store manager who then called police.
"We believe she is a newborn, born within that day," said Det. Lily Duran with Tempe Police.
At the time the baby was found Sunday evening the temperature outside was still around 103 to 104 degrees.
"We're very fortunate this baby is healthy and is doing well," Said Duran.
"The heat could have been a factor, somebody could have just taken it, there are just so many things that could have gone wrong," Duran told 12 News.
Ironically, the baby was found just a few hundred feet from a Tempe fire station.
Which like all other fire stations and hospitals is a safe baby haven. A place that, in Arizona, a person can physically hand off a newborn baby within 72 hours of its birth, no questions asked.
"It exempts people from the charge of child abuse, it was passed to do what its name says, it is to protect children," said Paul Nies, an assistant chief for the Tempe Fire Department.
"Apparently, whoever did this wasn't aware of those options and made a decision that could have had tremendously tragic consequences," Nies said.
"It's heartbreaking to imagine someone who felt like this was their best option," Nies said when talking about someone abandoning the baby in a parking lot rather than seeking out a safer option.
Tempe police are now asking anyone who may know the baby or its mother to come forward with information.
Workers at nearby businesses told 12 News officers also visited several businesses in the area to gather any available surveillance video.
If you have any information about who this baby's family might be, please call Tempe PD at 480-350-8311.
It's not clear if there will be charges against whoever left the girl.
More information on Arizona's Safe Haven law is available online.
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