go to content

A Woman Who Left Her Newborn In A Bag On A Street Now Wants Her Back

Sandra Queiroz, a maid and a mother of two other children, says she acted "out of desperation" in a case that has outraged Brazil. She now faces three years in prison.

Posted on

The woman was identified as Sandra Queiroz, a 37-year-old mother of two other children. She was caught on CCTV images last Sunday leaving the baby in Higienópolis, São Paulo, an affluent neighbourhood in Brazil.

The child was taken to Santa Casa de Misericordia hospital and, following widespread media attention of the case, became known as "the baby of Higienópolis."

SP: Recuperado, bebê abandonado em Higienópolis sai da Santa e vai para adoção: http://t.co/cWsCXDVEfr

Despite the outcry against Queiroz in the media, others in the country defended the mother.

Facebook: lucasbulgarelli

The Facebook post (above) about Queiroz went viral. The post criticises Estadão, a major newspaper, for saying Queiroz "abandoned" her child in its headline.

"It didn't fit in the headline the fact that this mother lived in a senzala*," Lucas Bulgarelli wrote. "It didn't fit in the headline that she abandoned her newborn because she was afraid to lose her job. It didn't fit the father. It didn't fit that she delivered the baby by herself, on the maid's dorm room. It didn't fit that, a few blocks away, there is a clandestine abortion clinic for the rich."

* Senzala literally means "slave's dorm", but is used as a metaphor for the tiny, sometimes windowless maid's dorms that are very common in Brazil.

Queiroz said she feared she would lose her job if she had another baby. However, her employer has since stated that she doesn't plan to dismiss her, and that her employer's son, who is a lawyer, will defend her in court.

Other people pointed to the fact that Queiroz didn't have access to an abortion services. In Brazil, abortion is only legal if the pregnancy endangers the life of the woman or is a result of rape.

According to local press, a close friend of Queiroz said the child's father "didn't care" about the situation. Queiroz later said: "I am very sorry for what happened. The pain I'm feeling right now is much higher than the birth."

Thumbnail credit: MARLENE BERGAMO (FOLHAPRESS)

Rossalyn Warren is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Rossalyn Warren at rossalyn.warren@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.