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Baby Doe: Everything we know, and don't, about the baby found with a man at an RTA bus stop

Baby Doe RTA bus stop
Posted at 6:48 PM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-25 11:43:00-04

CLEVELAND — It's a mystery that has many throughout Northeast Ohio wondering: Who is little Baby Doe?

On Monday, the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services and the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority police released the photo of a baby girl, seeking the child's identity after saying she had been found with a man at an RTA bus stop on Saturday.

Over the past few days, authorities have released additional information regarding the case, giving us some answers while also raising additional questions.

Here's everything we know—and everything we don't know—about "Baby Doe."

Where the baby was found

While authorities had previously reported that the child was found with a man at the RTA West Boulevard bus stop, it was later determined the baby was found with the man in a bus shelter in the area of Superior Avenue and East 105th Street on Saturday night around 8:57 p.m.

Why the man with the baby was questioned

According to authorities, a woman contacted RTA police on Saturday night after seeing the man with the baby and reported that they didn’t think the man was meant to have the baby. Authorities originally stated that an RTA bus driver was the caller who reported the incident to police, but reports indicate it was a female who was on the scene.

Dispatch was reportedly told that the baby's "feet were turning purple" and that she was "completely naked." A supplemental report stated that the female caller approached officers on the scene and told them the baby was "cold" and her "feet were gray."

The caller said she was able to touch the baby and she was cold to the touch.

"He said the mother's indisposed and he's babysitting," the caller told dispatch. "It don't seem right."

When RTA police arrived, they asked the man, later identified as Bennie M. Anderson, 67, for proof that the baby was his, and he was unable to, officials said. Anderson was bottle feeding the baby when authorities arrived.

Anderson was asked what the baby's name was, and he said, "Rambo."

Police said the man's hands were trembling and they noted "carelessness" regarding the supporting of the baby girl’s head, the report said. EMS intervened to correct the way he held her several times during their interaction.

After the interaction with Anderson and a woman on scene, the baby girl was taken to Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services, per county protocol.

What happened to the man being questioned

Police said that during the interaction with Anderson, when asked to provide his name, he initially declined, but eventually gave them that information. Anderson then declined to give police his Social Security number.

Officers got Anderson's date of birth from his cell phone and ran the information they had, discovering he had a felony warrant for a parole violation, according to a police report.

A woman recording the incident from across the street approached the scene with a stroller that had clothes on it and told police she was the mother of the baby.

Woman wanted in connection to an unidentified baby found at RTA bus shelter.

The woman then told police she was Anderson's husband and also said she was "the IRS." When asked what the baby's name was, the woman declined to answer and told police they would "need a federal warrant for that information."

After initially refusing, Anderson placed the baby in a stroller, and, after a brief scuffle that saw officers deploy a Taser on Anderson, he was arrested and transported to the Cuyahoga County Jail.

It is unclear if Anderson has been questioned further while in custody regarding the baby.

What happened to the woman being questioned

After telling police that she was the baby's mother, police said the woman eventually told them her name was Love Anderson, but police said that running her information into the Law Enforcement Automated Data System brought up a person that did not match that woman's description.

Police said the woman could not tell them what month the baby was born or the baby's name.

Woman wanted in connection to an unidentified baby found at RTA bus shelter.

It is unclear what kind of state the woman was in while being questioned by police, as the report indicates she said she claimed she was a medical physician, an IRS tax attorney, a civil engineer and other professions. She told officers she needed to breastfeed the baby because "the plastic bag in the bottle has maggots in it," and police noted the woman referred to the child as "the baby" rather than "my baby."

EMS told the woman that they needed to evaluate the baby further and were able to take the baby to University Hospitals for evaluation.

On Tuesday, police named the woman as a person of interest, seeking to identify her for further questioning.

The baby's condition

While the police report stated that the bus driver said the baby's feet were turning purple, police on scene could not confirm if that was true.

After being taken to the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services on Saturday, administrators said the baby appeared healthy and there were no concerns regarding her care.

Baby Doe RTA bus stop
A photo of the unidentified baby found at an RTA bus station on Cleveland's East Side Saturday.

"She seems very well taken care of," said Elizabeth Nekoloff, administrator of the Children's Hotline for the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services. "There were no concerns when we brought her here. UH had no concerns about her care. She looked healthy."

The baby is currently in foster care while authorities continue searching for her identity and the confirmed identity of her family.

Solon Police Department's involvement

On Wednesday, a citizen contacted the Solon Police Department, saying she believed she had seen a woman matching the description and pictures issued by RTA police of the woman from the bus stop on Saturday night.

The citizen told police she had seen the images of the woman in the news and thought she encountered the woman at the Solon Square Shopping Center. She told dispatch that she appeared to be wearing the same clothes as in the pictures provided by RTA police, and was still with the empty stroller.

"She actually looks like she's wearing the same clothes as she is in this picture. She is by herself with a baby stroller," the caller said. "I swear this is her because I'm looking at the same gray blanket that's thrown over her stroller."

The caller, who didn't want to be identified, spoke with News 5 after making the call to police.

"The story totally took to my heart because I am a mother of four young kids," she said.

Officers arrived on the scene and the woman, who was not breaking any laws, declined to identify herself to authorities.

Baby Doe woman in question Solon

RTA police officers, as well as members of the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services, responded to the scene as well, and after three hours of speaking with her, the woman continued to decline to identify herself and was released.

For the Solon mother who called police, she is saddened by the whole ordeal.

"Pray for little Baby Doe, that she's well taken care of," she told News 5.

Solon police are no longer investigating the case, which is still being led by RTA police and the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services.

Child advocate weighs in on the case

Jennifer Johnson of the Canopy Child Advocacy Center said investigative agencies are working together to determine the identity of Baby Doe and the identity of her parents.

“They're trying to do due diligence to find and locate the parent, identify whether or not the entity is the parent, and then determine if that's a safe space for that child to be," she said.

Johnson said cases like this are rare.

"This doesn't happen often where a child is left and there's an inability to determine the parents," Johnson said.

Where is the baby's family?

Now four days after the baby was found with the man at the bus stop, authorities are no closer to identifying the baby girl.

While police have asked for the family of the child to come forward, no one has claimed the baby as theirs, aside from the man she was found with and the woman with the stroller, neither of whom could provide any details about the baby's identity or prove they were her parents.

No local agencies that deal with missing persons, and no families, have stepped forward publicly to identify the child.

County officials ask that anyone with information regarding the baby's identity or the identity of the woman still in question call 216-696-KIDS or 911.

RELATED: Do you recognize her? RTA releases photos of woman wanted in connection to unidentified baby girl

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