Mother Arrested After Toddler Found Abandoned on NYC Street: NYPD

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Bronx mother has been arrested, accused of abandoning her toddler in his stroller on a Bronx street early Monday. Checkey Beckford reports. (Published Tuesday, Jun 3, 2014)

    A Bronx mother has been arrested, accused of abandoning her toddler in his stroller on a Bronx street early Monday. 

    Police say the boy was found in the blue stroller at about 5:30 a.m. at East 141st Street and Rider Avenue. A propane deliveryman, Jason Alexander, was just starting his early morning shift when he says he heard the sound of a baby crying. 

    He rounded the corner on Rider Avenue and found the toddler, just half a block away from Lincoln Hospital.

    "Once I picked him up out of the stroller, he stopped crying," said Alexander. "I put him in the truck and he started playing with the steering wheel, I called the police." 

    Alexander said he saw the toddler's blue stroller being pushed earlier by a woman in black clothing with her hair in a bun, and that the woman was stumbling around, asking for money. 

    When he saw her a second time that morning, she was alone.

    "I said, 'Hey, where's your baby at?'" he told NBC 4 New York. "She didn't say anything." 

    "She was kind of lethargic, walking around," he said. 

    Alexander said he was immediately worried when he saw the boy alone in the stroller. 

    "It seems like there's been a rash of stuff happening to kids in the city," he said. "That was the main thing, that I'm going to leave there and hear about something happening to the baby, and I could have helped prevent it." 

    The boy was examined at the hospital and is now in the care of the city's child welfare agency.

    By Monday night, police were interviewing a woman identified as the baby's mother at the 40th Precinct station in the Bronx. Diana Paniagua, 29, was later arrested on charges of reckless endangerment and child abandonment, police said.

    A woman at the police station who identified herself as the baby's godmother said Paniagua would not abandon her child.

    "She would never do anything like that," said Ruth Perdoma. "She's not going to leave her son out in the stroller like that." 

    It's not immediately known if Paniagua has an attorney.

    -- Checkey Beckford contributed to this report. 

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