Child in state custody, father faces multiple charges
by: Special to, Stefeno Martinez, 8 months, was abandoned at a Gresham motel early Friday. His father came forward later in the day.

The father of an abandoned baby found early Friday, Aug. 4, in a Gresham motel stairwell is behind bars on charges of abandoning a child and third-degree rape.

Danny Darron Martinez, 36, of Vancouver is being held on $10,000 bail at the Justice Center Jail.

Martinez went to the Gresham police station shortly after noon and admitted to being the father of the abandoned baby, said Officer Grant McCormick, a Gresham police spokesman.

During a three-hour interview, he told police that he left the baby - 8-month-old Stefeno Martinez - with someone else to watch. Police have not yet questioned the 'someone else' or confirmed Martinez's story.

'The detectives have a lot of leads to follow up on,' McCormick said.

But as the baby's custodial parent, Martinez is legally responsible for the child. Police arrested him for child abandonment, a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in state prison, McCormick said.

In addition, Martinez allegedly had sex with a 16-year-old girl at the Super 8 Motel at 121 N.E. 181st Ave., early on Thursday, Aug. 3. He reportedly met the girl online.

The girl's parents reported the rape later that afternoon. Due to the girl's age, police also arrested Martinez for statutory rape, McCormick said.

Martinez has a criminal record in Wyoming, where the baby's mother is in state prison.

The father has reportedly been staying in cheap motels across the Portland-metro area since moving to Oregon, McCormick said. Most recently, Martinez was staying at a motel on 82nd Avenue in Portland.

Early on Friday, Aug. 4, a 15-year-old Gresham girl was walking to the laundry room at the Golden Knight Motel, 750 E. Powell Blvd., when she found a baby boy in a dark, dingy stairwell, McCormick said.

The baby was in a car seat, wrapped in a blanket depicting a praying Our Lady of Guadalupe. Other than a soiled diaper, the child wore nothing. A full bottle of formula was left next to the baby.

McCormick said the baby appears to be in good health. The girl who found the baby took him to the motel manager. After knocking on doors in an effort to find the baby's parents, they called police at 7:35 a.m.

Officers canvassed the motel and nearby businesses, but nobody could identify the child. But someone at the motel recognized the baby from media coverage and contacted Martinez to tell him that police had taken the baby into protective custody.

Under state law, parents or guardians of an infant 30 days or younger can anonymously leave a baby at a hospital, doctor's office, birthing clinic, fire station, police department or sheriff's office.

This 'A Safe Place for Newborns' law would not have applied to the Gresham case because the baby is too old, McCormick said.

The baby is now in the custody of the state's Department of Human Services and is in a foster home, McCormick said.

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