No charges for Chinese mother of baby stuck in pipe

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BEIJING — A Chinese newborn who was trapped in a sewer pipe moments after his birth has been released from hospital into the care of his grandparents. Local officials and media reports said Thursday that authorities have concluded it was an accident, meaning his unwed mother is unlikely to be criminally charged.

The baby's stunning, two-hour rescue from a pipe underneath a squat toilet in Zhejiang province's Pujiang county captivated the world, prompting both horror and an outpouring of charity on behalf of the boy, who was released from a hospital late Wednesday.

The boy's maternal grandparents took him home and the mother remains under medical care, the state-run Jinhua Evening News reported, in an account confirmed by a local police official who declined to give his name when contacted by telephone. Earlier reports had said that the 22-year-old mother had taken the baby out of the hospital.

The mother had initially raised the alarm about the baby when he got stuck Saturday in a pipe just below a squat toilet in a public restroom of a residential building, but she had cleaned the room of signs of a fresh birth and did not initially come forward as the mother, officials have been quoted as saying.

She admitted she was the mother two days later, when confronted by police who had found baby toys and blood-stained tissues in her apartment, the reports said.

Police later concluded that the incident was an accident and that the woman did not initially come forward because she was frightened, but that she later started telling the truth. The police initially treated the case as a possible attempted homicide, but now are unlikely to file criminal charges.