MESA, Ariz. (KSAZ) - More than 1.5 years after a newborn baby girl was abandoned in a Mesa yard, police have arrested the baby's mother.
The infant's mother is being held on no bond, due to a probation violation. The woman is being charged with endangerment and child abuse, and reportedly admitted to police that she dropped the girl, just hours after giving birth to her.
Those who found the baby girl in their front yard still remember the situation like it was yesterday.
"When people find a baby, it's just -- it's so traumatic," said Roseanne McCulloh. "You don't think about finding a baby outside your yard. It's very shocking."
McCulloh and her son, Robert Oliver, went outside of their Mesa home in March 2016. In the front yard, near the irrigation system and under a few rose bushes, was a baby seat.
"There was a metal sheet over the baby seat," said Oliver. "Once I took that off, I about jumped back 20 feet and saw there was a baby inside."
"He didn't want to look," recounted McCulloh. "I said, 'is it alive? is it alive?' He said, 'I don't want to look, mom. I don't want to look, mom.'"
Once they realized the baby girl was alive, however, they rushed her inside and cleaned her off.
"She was moving around, and I grabbed her and I took her out," recounted McCulloh. "We brought her in, put her on my bed. and we were all together, you know, and checking the baby out."
The family often thinks about the baby they now call "Rose", and the case had gone cold, until recently. Due to a DNA index, 24-year-old Maricela Perez was linked to the baby, by blood left in the car seat. Police were able to catch up with Perez, and arrested her.
Perez reportedly admitted to police to giving birth to the girl in a bath tub, just hours before dropping her. She told them she didn't want to take her to a fire station, in fear she would be asked about the infant having meth in her system.
The family who found the baby is now hoping the mother can get help.
"If she regrets it, find a way to un-regret it because the baby might be in a whole different space right now and she might be happy, but I'm sure one day, she'll want to know who her real mother is," said McCulloh.
McCulloh and her family celebrates the baby girl's birthday every year, and even keeps up with her progress. They've even tried to adopt the girl, but to no avail.
Meanwhile, Perez is due back in court on November 22.