A bicyclist who had been looking for items to recycle heard the child's cries about 6 a.m. near the northeast corner of Hardwick Street and Lakewood Boulevard, Lt. Alicia Malone of the sheriff's Lakewood station said.
"Luckily, the bicyclist was in the area at the time,'' Malone said. "She might have been found about four hours after being born.''
The sheriff's lieutenant said the newborn was lying in some grass and wrapped in a blanket.
The bicyclist scooped up the baby and raced to a nearby fire station.
She was treated there and then taken to Miller Children's Hospital in Long Beach, where her life signs were stable, according to the sheriff's department.
After the Sheriff's Special Victims Bureau and crime lab technicians responded to the scene, a 35-year-old woman approached deputies and said she had witnessed the birth and helped the mother by cutting the umbilical cord, Deputy Mike Barraza of the Sheriff's Information Bureau said.
The woman was taken to the Lakewood Station for questioning, he said.
"During the interview with SVB detectives, they noticed that when she stood up from her seat there was blood on her chair,'' leading investigators to believe she was in fact the mother, although she denied giving birth, Barraza said.
The woman was taken to Long Beach Memorial Hospital to be medically treated for her bleeding, he said.
"At the hospital, the examining physician concluded she recently gave birth because the placenta and partial umbilical cord were still inside of her,'' Barraza said, adding that the woman was admitted to the hospital and was to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
"Based on the above we believe the woman is the mother of the child,'' he said. "The DNA results are pending.''
The results of the ongoing investigation will be presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office for review and possible prosecution, he said.
"The Sheriff's Department would like to remind the public that California has a Safe Haven Law in place,'' Lt. Dan Beringer of the Lakewood Station said. "A newborn may be dropped off at a designated 'safe surrender site' within the first 72 hours.
"Designated sites, usually hospitals and fire stations, will accept the newborn with no questions asked.''
"Unfortunately in this case, we are now investigating a child endangerment incident,'' he said.