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Intuition saves life of baby

A care-giver cradles the baby, who is estimated to be three to five days old. Photo: Matthew Jordaan

A care-giver cradles the baby, who is estimated to be three to five days old. Photo: Matthew Jordaan

Published Oct 11, 2010


By Caryn Dolley

Something told him to turn back and check the manhole.

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Desmond Mutengo’s spur-of-the-moment decision resulted in a baby, about five days old, being saved.

The boy was dumped in the manhole near Killarney Gardens three days ago and apparently left for dead, but Mutengo found him and managed to fish him out.

Police are now trying to find the baby’s mother, who faces a charge of abandoning her child.

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Yesterday, Mutengo, 24, a truck driver from Milnerton, said he was still shocked by his experience and planned to visit the baby, who was being kept in a place of safety.

“I fell in love with him. That baby broke my heart. He was left there for dead, in dirty water and would’ve died. I hope that I get to know him over the years and one day I can tell him what happened,” Mutengo said.

He had been working near Killarney Gardens on Friday when he noticed the baby being held by a woman who was sitting with her legs dangling into the open manhole.

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Mutengo said her face was hidden as she looked down and slowly wrapped the baby in a white blanket.

“I drove past and thought the woman was acting very strangely … I just thought it suspicious she was sitting with a baby near a manhole. That’s dangerous,” he said.

Mutengo was returning from his delivery when he noticed the woman and baby were no longer there.

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“Something said to me I must go back and check the manhole. ‘Just check, just check,’ I thought to myself.”

Near the manhole, he heard faint cries.

“I was shocked and shaking when I realised the baby was in there. He was in filthy water with just his head sticking out. I got two guys passing by to help get him out. We called the police,” he said.

Mutengo wrapped the boy in a jacket.

As soon as police got to the scene, Mutengo had to rush off on another job.

He has not seen the baby since then.

“I have a four-year-old son and this thing has shaken me,” Mutengo said.

He did not want to be photographed as he did not want to be portrayed as a hero.

Last week, a six-week-old baby was dumped and found dead in Khayelitsha.

His 17-year-old mother was arrested on a murder charge. - Cape Times

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