A woman in Saint John is facing charges after an infant was left alone outside in sub-zero temperatures earlier this week.

The child wasn’t hurt but is now in the care of New Brunswick’s department of social services, as the woman awaits a court date.

A resident heard a baby crying around 6 p.m. Monday evening and alerted the police after trying to find a parent. The temperature that evening had dipped below -15.

“Because of the cold, extreme temperatures on Monday night, we consider this a very serious incident,” says Sgt. Jay Henderson of the Saint John Police Force.

Police began to investigate immediately and notified the province’s Department of Social Development, which has taken custody of the child and begun their own investigation.

The department says it can’t speak about specific cases but says it takes the safety and security of children seriously. Their investigation is taking place in conjunction with the one police are conducting.

“As a result of this investigation, we have located a 27-year-old female that is guardian of this infant,” explains Sgt. Henderson. “She is now facing serious criminal charges relating to failing to provide the necessities of life.”

On the street where the child was found, public opinion is one-sided and pointed.

“I’m upset, that is sad, that is really pathetic, that hurts,” says one resident. “It breaks my heart, that poor little baby, to go through that, and what that baby facing in the future.”

“If the person knew enough to make the baby, certainly they knew enough to keep it warm,” adds another resident. “If they can’t keep it warm, shouldn’t be fit to have it and should be charged accordingly.”

Police wouldn’t say how long they believe the baby was outside, or why the child was left alone.

The woman facing charges has been released and is due to appear in court on March 19th.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Andy Campbell