NEW YORK -- A woman accused of abandoning her baby at a Manhattan subway station told police on Tuesday that she is homeless and felt she could no longer take care of the little girl.
Police said she pushed the baby's stroller onto a platform at the Columbus Circle station on Monday and then got back on a train.
The 20-year-old woman was being questioned after being found around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday near Central Park, around 72nd Street and Broadway, police said. She has not been charged.
The mother told detectives in a preliminary interview that she is from North Carolina and came to New York on July 2. She said the baby's father died recently in California.
"She felt she couldn't take care of the baby and thought she was leaving her in a safe public space," said Stephen Davis, spokesman for the New York Police Department.
The baby, who is about 10 months old, was examined at Roosevelt Hospital, and doctors found no apparent signs of trauma, police said. She was placed in the care of the city's Administration for Children's Services.
Authorities were notified of the mother's whereabouts by someone who recognized her from photos and video police released showing a woman pushing the child through a subway turnstile gate.
A passenger had seen the woman and child board the train at 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue, police said. The passenger got off at Columbus Circle and noticed the unattended stroller on the platform and the mother inside the train. After the train pulled away, the passenger remained with the baby for about 20 minutes. When the mother did not return, she notified a subway worker who called police.
A city law that allows people to take an unwanted baby to a firehouse, police station or hospital with no questions asked would not have applied in this case because it only pertains to infants 5 days old or younger.