Fact Check

Baby Abandoned in National Park

Photograph shows a baby found abandoned in a national park?

Published May 30, 2013


Claim:   Photograph shows a baby found abandoned in a national park.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, May 2013]

I saw a rather disturbing image on Facebook of what looked like a dead new born baby lying on the grass. The caption read:


A baby was just found dumped in the national park this morning! If you've such heart please change. God is watching.

Nothing much but to wish soul to rest in eternal peace!

Type R.I.P if you have a heart. Ignore if you're also heartless.

Just curious if it is real, I did not find any news stories about it and I'm not sure where the picture came from.


Origins:   The image displayed above was widely circulated via social media in May 2013, with accompanying text claiming that it was a photograph of a (presumably dead) baby that had been found abandoned in a national park.

It isn't true that the image captured an event recent to May 2013, nor that the pictured baby was found in any U.S. national park. The photograph seems to have originated with Malaysian news accounts and blog entries from several years ago (going at least as far back as 2008) which discuss a rash of child abandonments in that country. The Chinese news agency Xinhua reported on that issue in September 2010, saying that:

Malaysia is grappling with a rising number of cases of abandoned babies, "forcing" the Malaysian police to investigate baby-dumping cases under the Malaysian Penal Code for murder or attempted murder.

The Malaysian public blames premarital sex on the overexposure to sexually liberal western culture, while the Malaysian government is considering including sex education in school syllabus.

Experts, on the other hand, say the first step to curbing the rising trend is to start

educating the young about their choices.

Pre-marital sex and having a child out of wedlock is deemed deeply shameful in Malaysia, a Muslim majority country.

They are not only regarded as sins, but may also be punishable crimes.

Muslim couples found guilty of fornicating could be fined up to thousands of U.S. dollars, jailed or caned.

In a society where abortion is prohibited, many girls are left stranded and eventually choose to abandon their babies.

This year alone, the Malaysian police have discovered 65 abandoned infants, most of them dead by the time they were found.

They were left in rubbish bins, on doorsteps and on the streets, prompting the government to consider treating these cases as murder or attempted murder.

It isn't clear from the many conflicting reports that reproduce this image (most of which are in Malay) when and where the pictured baby was found, so we don't know for sure what the story behind the photograph is; whether the infant was truly abandoned and found in a national park, and what the circumstances behind that abandonment might have been.

Another similar photograph seemingly documents that the unfortunate child was a newborn and was discovered dead:

Last updated:   30 May 2013

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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