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China's 'Pipe Baby' Out Of Hospital And With Mother's Family

"Baby 59," who survived being trapped in a sewer pipe, on Wednesday at the Pujiang People's Hospital.
AFP/Getty Images
"Baby 59," who survived being trapped in a sewer pipe, on Wednesday at the Pujiang People's Hospital.

The newborn boy whose rescue from a sewer pipe in eastern China drew attention around the world earlier this week has been released from a hospital and is now in the care of his mother's family, according to media reports from Beijing.

There's also word that the mother will not be facing any charges. According to The Associated Press:

"The mother had initially raised the alarm about the baby when he got stuck Saturday in a pipe just below a squat toilet in a public restroom of a residential building. But she had cleaned the room of signs of a fresh birth and did not initially come forward as the mother, officials have been quoted as saying.

"She admitted she was the mother two days later when confronted by police who had found baby toys and blood-stained tissues in her apartment, the reports said.

"Police later concluded that the incident was an accident and that the woman did not initially come forward because she was frightened, but that she later started telling the truth, the Jinhua Evening News and a Pujiang county propaganda official said."

The BBC says it has been told by "an official with the Pujiang propaganda department" that the infant, known as Baby 59, is now with his maternal grandparents. The Guardian reports that the baby's mother is expected to "retain custody of her son."

There are conflicting accounts about where the 22-year-old mother is at this time. The AP says she remains under medical care. Other news outlets report she and the baby are together. The infant's father, a local official tells the AP, says he is willing to help support the boy. The baby's parents are not married.

According to the Guardian:

"Authorities said the little boy, who suffered minor cuts and bruises but is otherwise healthy. ... Wellwishers had inundated officials with offers to adopt him."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.

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