A MOUNT Road police station clerk who allegedly agreed to look after a baby but then opened charges of abandonment against its mother has been released on bail in Port Elizabeth.
While Natalie Rall, 29, will stand trial for perjury, her two friends are still under investigation for abandoning the six-month-old baby boy.
Police have obtained statements from the two women, but they have not been charged.
Rall maintains that a distraught Afrikaans-speaking woman dumped the baby on her desk at the Mount Road police station on Friday afternoon. She denies any fostering agreement.
Rall, a mother of two, appeared briefly in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court yesterday afternoon, after which she was released on R500 bail.
She apparently perjured herself when she made a sworn statement that a stranger had walked up to her office on the third floor of the police station– where she has worked for the past three years – and handed her the baby. She claimed the young woman had then placed a carry bag with diapers and formula on her desk and fled.
That evening, photographs of the smiling baby boy, dressed in a beige outfit and wrapped in a brown blanket, were posted on various social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter, with pleas to the public to help find his parents.
Many expressed shock at the news, while some said they were grateful the baby’s mother had taken him to the police station and not harmed him. There were even offers to adopt the baby.
Police tracked down the mother on Saturday and questioned her and a friend of hers.
Rall was arrested hours later.
It is the state’s case that the baby’s mother, who is single and unemployed, could no longer afford to look after him. The mother, apparently a part-time exotic dancer, had accordingly approached a friend last Wednesday for assistance.
Although the friend initially agreed to look after the baby, the boy’s mother feared that they lived too far apart. She wanted to be able to visit her son on a weekly basis.
The friend had then apparently contacted Rall, who agreed to house the baby in the interim.
With the boy’s belongings packed in a carry bag, on Friday the friend dropped him off at the Mount Road police station.
Rall, however, reported a case of abandonment and attempted to open a docket.
She was arrested on Saturday afternoon and remanded until yesterday, when she was formally charged in court.
Her case was postponed to October 25 for further investigation. She has not yet pleaded to the charge.
The baby underwent a medical examination and is being looked after at a place of safety. A social worker will prepare a report on the incident for the Children’s Court.