Daniel’s Story-Daniel’s Law in South Carolina

For us here at One-By-One, Inc. it all began because of reading the story of Daniel and how Daniel’s Law came to be. Many of you may have heard of the story but some of  you may not.

Here is Daniel’s Story

Sources: South Carolina, 2000 The State, Columbia…taken from a spring

2002 article updating the public about “Daniel”…

September 8, 2000, about 7:15 AM

She had kept her pregnancy secret from her parents because she was ashamed of having the child out of wedlock. She had never sought prenatal care.  His mother gave birth to him in the bathroom of her home. About 30 minutes later, she dug a 20 ½ inch deep hole in the old city dump and placed the still-wet infant inside. Just after 10AM she showed up at the local hospital thinking she was having another child. Hospital workers quickly learned that it was the afterbirth and asked her what happened to her baby. She told them she had buried him on a dirt road beside her home.

Police and emergency workers searched in vain for almost 2 hours before she finally relented and took them to the dump. She pointed to a mound covered in lime just inside the gate of the abandoned landfill. Rescue workers steeled themselves for the worst-finding a dead baby amid the old trash. After barely 2 minutes of careful digging, rescue workers spotted a patch of flesh. It was the muffled cries that came from the still buried infant that made them realize they were on a rescue mission, not a recovery effort.

Quickly, but still very carefully, more dirt was cleared away. When he was pulled from the hole, he was folded at the hips with his legs pointing down at an angle. He was covered with a lime substance and fire ants and he was screaming his head off. Rescue workers could make out ant bites on his chest, face and the web between his fingers. But the rest of his body was caked with the lime.

They wrapped him in towels to keep him warm. Fingers were used to pull out clumps of lime from the infant’s mouth and unblock his air passages. Fearing that they might miss something that could get into his lungs, they continued to hold him upside down until they could get him to the hospital.

Ironically, it was those dire conditions that saved his life. His eyes were caked shut from the lime which protected him from the ants. The ants biting kept him crying and conscious, and being inverted kept his airway open.

Said one rescue worker, “that baby was just not meant to die. It’s an unbelievable story that this child lived through all that. God has a plan for his life.”

His nurses named him “Daniel”.

For information about Safe Haven Laws in your state, see our map on the homepage of this site.


  1. Billie Attaway says:

    The following is more information about how Daniel’s Law works in SC. With thanks to Graves Wilson, Esq.

    Daniel’s law When life’s unfortunate circumstances so impact a mother that she must decide that she simply cannot raise her newborn infant, she may leave the infant in the care of a safe haven.

    A third party may simply be better able to provide for the health, education and welfare of the child.

    Daniel’s Law (see Part One for an introduction) imposes certain affirmative duties on the safe haven. Because the focus of this blog is to inform the families of children who may be exposed to abuse or neglect as to their rights, these affirmative duties will not be discussed in detail here. Generally, however, these include:

    1. The safe haven (Hospital, Church, Doc In a Box, Firestation, etc.) must ask the person leaving the infant to identify any parent of the infant. If the person does not want to give any identity, they do not have to.

    2. The safe haven also must attempt to obtain information concerning the infant’s background and medical history, including, but is not limited to, information concerning the use of a controlled substance by the infant’s mother, provided that any information regarding the use of a controlled substance by the infant’s mother is not admissible as evidence of the unlawful use of a controlled substance in any court proceeding.

    3. Any identifying information disclosed by the person leaving the infant must be kept confidential by the safe haven and disclosed to no one other than DSS. However, if a court determines that the immunity provisions do not apply, the safe haven may disclose the information as permitted by confidentiality protections applicable to records of the safe haven, if the safe haven has such confidentiality protections for records.

    The Department of Social Services shall maintain confidentiality of this information in accordance with S.C. Code section 63-7-1990. Subsection H provides “A safe haven and its agents, and any health care professionals practicing within a hospital or hospital outpatient facility, are immune from civil or criminal liability for any action authorized by this section, so long as the safe haven, or health care professional, complies with all provisions of this section.”

    4. If the safe haven is a hospital or hospital outpatient facility, it shall perform any act necessary to protect the physical health or safety of the infant. Any other safe haven shall, as soon as possible, but no later than six hours after receiving an infant, transport the infant to a hospital or hospital outpatient facility.

    5. The hospital or hospital outpatient facility shall notify DSS that it has taken temporary physical custody of the infant by the end of the close of the first business day after the date on which it takes possession of the infant.

    The Law also imposes certain affirmative duties on DSS. Generally, these include:

    1. DSS has legal custody of the infant immediately upon receipt of notice from the hospital. Assumption of custody by the department pursuant to this subsection does not constitute emergency protective custody, and the department is not required to initiate a child protective services investigation solely because an infant comes into its custody under this subsection.

    2. Immediately after receiving notice from a hospital, DSS must contact the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division for assistance in assuring that the infant is not a missing infant.

    3. Within forty-eight hours after taking legal custody of the infant, DSS must publish notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the area and send a news release to broadcast and print media in the area designed to inform the public and help locate persons wishing to assert parental rights to the infant.

    4. Within forty-eight hours after obtaining legal custody of the infant, DSS must initiate legal action to terminate the parental rights of the parents.

    A decision to leave an infant with a safe haven is a very personal decision. But with the correct information, a mother may feel some comfort in making a decision she believes to be in the child’s best interests.


  1. Daniels Story in South Carolina…

    She had kept her pregnancy secret from her parents because she was ashamed of having the child out of wedlock. She had never sought prenatal care. His mother gave birth to him in the bathroom of her home. About 30 minutes later, she dug a 20 inch deep…

  2. […] some history regarding the law see “Daniel’s Story–Daniel’s Law in South Carolina.” Fair warning, brace yourself.  Thankfully, there’s now another […]

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