A woman praised for successfully rescuing a nearby resident’s newborn baby after discovering him buried alive in the south-central province of Binh Thuan on Saturday quickly finding out that there is more tragedy to the story than meets the eye.
A local resident in Tan Thang Commune in Ham Tan District was taking a morning walk by a fallow near her house, when she saw a baby’s elbow and foot emerging from the ground.
After a little bit of digging, she was stunned to see a baby, still breathing but with several wounds on his body, buried in the dirt.
She quickly rushed the one-day-old child to a local medical station where doctors cut his umbilical cord and treated his wounds.
The details of the story remained obscure until Wednesday, when T.T.A.Kh., a resident of Pho Tri Village in Tan Thang Commune, Ham Tan District, turned herself in to local police and admitted that she was the mother of the abandoned newborn.
Tears of a granny
The baby’s grandmother, 64-year-old Ngo Thi Sang, shared that she has seven children, including Kh.
According to Sang, none of them were able to finish school due to financial reasons.
Kh is illiterate, she says, and had additional trouble developing due to epilepsy.
Needing work, she eventually began collecting cow dung and selling it to earn a living.
Eventually, Kh. got married and moved in with her husband, an alcoholic, just a few minutes from Sang’s house.
According to Sang, the woman who came across the buried baby was Truc, Kh.’s younger sister-in-law.
Upon finding the baby, Truc called Kh.’s grade-eight daughter, M.L., to help dig out the baby, a contradiction of previous reports which stated Truc had actually called her husband.
Sang also joined the group to help clean the baby and transport him to the local medical center, all without knowing it was her grandchild.
Now that the truth has come to light, the family is in shock.
The joy of rescuing the baby was quick to fade away once they realized Kh.’s indifference to the situation.
|The newborn baby is seen at the General Hospital of La Gi Town in Binh Thuan Province on May 26, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Buried after delivery
After coming forward, Kh. revealed that her relationship with her husband had gone downhill ever since she first announced she was pregnant.
For fear of judgment, she attempted to keep the pregnancy a secret by continuing work as usual and hiding her baby bump by wearing a coat.
On Friday night, when she went into labor, she snuck to the back of her house and summoned up her strength to deliver the baby by herself.
At one point, she dropped the baby and it hit a piece of sheet metal, leading to a wound on his face.
“My husband was drinking in front of the house at that time,” Kh. recalled.
Fearing that she would be unable to keep the child secret for long, Kh. concealed the newborn in the backyard and waited until the next morning to bring him out to the fallow before covering him in layers of sand.
When the baby was discovered, Kh. maintained her poker face, keeping calm and quiet as her sister-in-law and eldest daughter gave first aid to the child.
The next day, Sang saw that Kh. had several gynecological abnormalities and asked her to go to the hospital for an examination.
Sang continued questioning Kh. and eventually was able to get the whole story. She then took Kh. to police to report her story.
“No, it’s not burying. I just put him there and covered him with sand,” the soft-headed mother indifferently said to police officers.
Sang cried over her daughter’s incident, saying that if she had acknowledged Kh.’s pregnancy, the entire incident would never have happened.
“I could still have managed to raise him [the baby]. Why did she do that?” Sang said in tears.
Meanwhile, the eldest daughter, M.L., is still not clear what happened.
A Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporter attempted to question Boi, Kh.’s husband, but was stopped by L.
"Do not come! He is drunk, he is angry about my mother’s incident. If you come, he will beat my mother again," L. supplicated.
Because of their parents' arguments, L. and her sibling have lived with Sang.
"I hope all people ignore this! I want to take him back and take care of him by myself and make sure he’s not left with his mother," the old granny said in a choked voice.