SINGAPORE - The mother of a baby girl who was abandoned at a housing block's lift lobby had such a drastic change in her appearance that a concerned neighbour thought she was abused and starved.
Last Thursday (Aug 8), Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao reported that a week-old baby girl was found abandoned at the lift landing of Block 203 in Serangoon Central.
The mother, who is a maid, appeared pallid and gaunt the night after she delivered the baby.
The concerned neighbour who saw her that night, said: "When I saw the maid a few months back, she still looked healthy and cheerful. It was such a stark contrast when I saw her two weeks ago. I thought she was abused, and probably wasn't given any food to eat."
When asked by the neighbour's maid, the mother of the abandoned baby denied that she was mistreated by her employer.
Lianhe Wanbao reported that the maid usually wore loose and baggy T-shirts and shorts, hiding her figure.
The neighbour was shocked to learn that the maid was linked to the abandoned baby girl.
Abandoned the baby girl after a week from delivery
The maid hid her pregnancy from her employer, and later tried to hide her infant daughter in her employer's house, but was forced to abandon her child after the baby's cries became too obvious.
The maid's employer, Mr Gao told Lianhe Wanbao that the maid had a short and chubby stature when she started working for his family in March. He did not suspect anything amiss then, and found her to be hard-working.
Judging from the time of the delivery, it is likely that she was four months pregnant when she started working for Mr Gao.
Mr Gao, 65, said that his family was unaware of her situation until he heard a baby's cry in the kitchen last Thursday morning.
"I was at home with my five-year-old grandson and I asked him to investigate the noise. When he asked the maid where the noise came from, she said it came from a handphone," said Mr Gao.
While he did not suspect anything initially, Mr Gao's suspicions were triggered when the maid left home with a bag. He thought the bag was carrying a baby.
From what he understood, the maid gave birth to the baby girl at home and stained the mattress with blood. The sheets have been taken away by the police as case exhibits for investigation.
Mr Gao believes that the maid hid the baby in the house for a few days and went unnoticed by the family until they heard the baby's cries. The maid, who was afraid of being exposed, subsequently abandoned her baby.
Wrap reveals the abandoned baby's mother
The wrap that the abandoned baby girl was covered in ultimately led to the discovery of the mother.
Mr Gao told the Chinese Daily that maid bumped into his son-in-law when she was leaving the house in a hurry. He had just returned from buying breakfast and said she appeared to be calm then.
The 65-year-old added that when his son-in-law was watching television the next morning when he spotted the wrap on TV. It look similar to what his five-year old son used to wear.
"We were immediately suspicious," Mr Gao said, "After we pieced the clues together from yesterday's chain of events, we immediately lodged a police report."
Photos in the phone
The maid initially denied that she was the mother of the abandoned baby when she was questioned by the police, and only confessed after they found photos of the new-born on her handphone.
Mr Gao said after their residence was visited by many police officers after his son-in-law made a police report.
"The police kept questioning her," said Mr Gao, "but she kept denying and insisting that she wasn't the one who abandoned the baby."
After an extensive search of her room and the discovery of photos on the handphone, she was left with no choice but to confess.
Mr Gao said that the police took the maid back for questioning, and took away her mattress and personal documents as evidence.
He also added that the police declined his requests to visit his maid at the hospital.
How did the maid evade the check-up?
Three questions begged to be asked from this episode.
1) Since she is a transferred maid, how did she evade the mandatory check-up?
2) When the maid changed employer, she was already pregnant for four months. Why was the maid agency unaware of her pregnancy?
3) How did the maid manage to deliver and hide the baby before she abandoned it?
This article was translated from Lianhe Wanbao.