CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Police throughout Hampton Roads are searching for a man who stole an SUV Wednesday morning that had a 3-month-old onboard.
Many people woke up to an AMBER Alert that was sent out about the missing little girl.
Witnesses tell News 3 the child was found abandoned under a stairwell in Norfolk, about 12 miles and 20 minutes away.
News 3 tracked down the people who found the baby.
A woman said her niece was coming off the nightshift on base in Norfolk when she discovered the infant under the stairwell near her apartment off the 1500 block of W. Little Creek Road.
“She said, 'Come outside right now,'” said the aunt. “I opened the door, and the baby was under the stairs here. She’s like, 'There’s a baby here,' so she started looking around to see if anybody was around.”
The woman’s aunt spoke to us but didn’t want to be identified.
She could not believe there was an infant alone outside when it was just above freezing.
“She was in a baby carrier. I think she was wearing regular clothes. She did have a cover on,” said the aunt. “It was cold, it was really cold; it’s still cold now. I’m taking the baby inside, you know, and trying to figure out what to do and call the cops, obviously. Her cheeks were a little bit cold, but she wasn’t freezing. She seemed fine. She looked awake. She wasn’t really fussy.”
It started at 6:30 a.m. at a Wawa on the 3400 block of Western Branch Boulevard in Chesapeake.
Police said a mom left her 3-month-old in the SUV while she ran inside with the car running and the door unlocked.
Authorities said a man pulled up in another stolen car, jumped in the running car that had the baby inside and took off.
Chesapeake Police said there were issues getting the AMBER Alert issued. They said there is a number designated for law enforcement that runs through the Virginia State Police when they need to call in an AMBER Alert, but that number was not working.
They said the problem caused some delays as the detective had to circumvent the system.
Meanwhile, officers in Norfolk were going door to door asking neighbors if they were missing a baby.
Prior to the AMBER Alert being sent out, they were trying to figure out how the child wound up under the stairwell outside.
Authorities were able to make the connection that the missing child was the one discovered in Norfolk. The baby was taken to the hospital to be checked out and appeared to be okay.
Chesapeake Police said the mother of the child is not facing any charges at this time but say the case is still under investigation.
The search for the suspect continued Wednesday night.
The aunt of the woman who found the child said she believes this is an act of God. She said her niece recently moved to the nightshift and it was by chance that she came home soon after the baby was put outside.
The Sailor has been identified as Devyn Drake. She told News 3 reporter Anthony Sabella Friday she was exhausted after working with her squadron, VAW-120.
Drake says she hasn't seen the baby since they parted and hasn't talked to the infant's mother - and that's okay. As a mom to a child around the same age, she said she's just happy she could do something.
"My immediate instinct was just to help this baby. It was like a second nature. I just had to get her out of the cold and help her any way that I could," Drake said.
Police said this is a reminder not to leave your car running. They said they take reports of stolen cars all the time.