Florida's Safe Haven law allows mothers with unwanted children to drop off their youngsters at a hospital or fire station up to seven days after their birth. Amanda Mathe was about ten years late for that one.
Fort Lauderdale cops spent a good portion of Friday trying to identify a kid who was just dropped off at Broward General Medical Center and was found wandering around the emergency room area.
The cops finally found out that Mathe was the mother of the 10-year-old boy, who has autism, although she's reportedly not facing criminal charges.
According to the Associated Press, Mathe told a judge Saturday that she "was overwhelmed and didn't know what else to do" with her son.
She told the judge she's going through a separation from her husband, is unemployed, and is nearing eviction from her foreclosed home, the AP says.
That's why she reportedly dropped off the boy at the hospital but apparently decided to hang on to her other two kids.
The AP says the Department of Children and Families will not press charges and is working with the family to find services -- and is meeting with the boy's father this week to see if it's appropriate for the boy to be released into his care.
The boy's father, Erick Mathe -- who lives in the Keys -- had to hear about his son's hospital drop-off through news reports, according to the Sun-Sentinel, and came up to Broward County looking for his son once he heard about it.
Erick Mathe is now attempting to gain custody of all three children, WSVN reports.
The youngster was dropped off at the hospital by a man around noon on Friday, the AP reports, although it's not clear who that man is.
Mathe claims that she tried to seek help from local shelters but was turned away -- leading her to ask a friend to drop off her son at the hospital, WSVN says.
Both parents have been granted unsupervised visits with the boy, as he's been taken to a foster home with people who have experience caring for kids with special needs, according to the Sentinel.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.