Police in upstate New York are describing a horrifying crime that might've proved deadly if not for what the Elmira Star Gazette describes as a "miracle." According to the Elmira Police Department, a 17-year-old girl placed her 8-month-old daughter in a plastic bag and abandoned her behind an Elmira home on Saturday. Three days later, two women heard a noise they thought was coming from an animal in distress, reports WENY. As they moved toward the noise around 1pm Tuesday, they instead saw the infant's feet poking out of the bag. "Her head was in the bag, her whole head was covered all the way down," says one of the women. She says she ripped open the plastic to find the 8-month-old covered in waste but miraculously alive.
Sgt. William Solt describes the women as "heroes" noting they "rendered as much first aid as possible" until police arrived. The infant, who police say was dehydrated and injured, was taken to a hospital where she was listed in stable condition Tuesday. Later Tuesday, police charged Harriette Hoyt with second-degree attempted murder. Court documents state Hoyt—who lives 20 miles from Elmira in Sayre, Penn.—left the child near bushes around noon on Saturday, did not return to check on her, and did not contact anyone else regarding her safety, per WHAM. WENY reports Holt, who faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted, showed "no emotion" during a court appearance Wednesday. She's due back in court on Monday.