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Baby stays in state custody

A second hearing on child's future will be held in 30 days
by: Contributed photo, Stefeno Martinez was abandoned Friday, Aug. 4.

An abandoned baby found early Friday, Aug. 4, in a Gresham motel stairwell will remain in state custody.

Family Court Referee Fithian Barrett ruled on Monday, Aug. 7, that 8-month-old Stefeno Martinez should stay with the foster family he was placed with last week, said Patricia Feeny, Oregon Department of Human Services spokeswoman.

At a second hearing in 30 days, child welfare officials will make a recommendation to the court regarding the baby's future.

'That gives us more time to investigate,' Feeny said. 'There may be other relatives who come forward.'

Gresham police arrested the baby's father - Danny Darron Martinez, 36, of Vancouver - when the man came forward as the baby's father about four hours after a local teen found the abandoned baby.

Martinez paid $1,000, or 10 percent of his $10,000 bail, on Sunday, Aug. 6. He was released from the Justice Center Jail, where he was held on charges of abandoning a child and third-degree rape.

At about 7:30 a.m. 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 the baby in a stairwell.

The baby was in a car seat and 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 also was left next to the baby. Police placed the baby in the custody of the Department of Human Services, which found a foster home for the boy.

During a three-hour interview, Martinez reportedly told police that he left the baby with someone else to watch.

'Detectives are looking into it, but we just can't find this mystery person,' said Officer Grant McCormick, Gresham police spokesman. 'We can't prove that this mystery person exists.'

As the baby's custodial parent, Martinez is legally responsible for the child, so police arrested him for child abandonment, a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in state prison.

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. He also was arrested on charges of domestic violence in Multnomah County in 2001, according to jail records.