NEWARK, Del. - Delaware state police are searching for a New Jersey woman who they believe may have abandoned her toddler in a hospital parking lot last weekend, authorities said yesterday.

Amy Giordano, 25, of Hightstown, was last heard from June 6 when she spoke by telephone with a friend, state police said.

An 11-month-old boy believed to be Giordano's son was found June 9 in the parking lot of Christiana Hospital. Inside the boy's diaper was a scrawled note that read, "Please help my baby John Vincent. I can no longer take care of him. Lost job, lost medical. God have mercy on me."

Police said the owner of a building where Giordano rented an apartment saw a picture of the boy distributed by Delaware authorities and identified the toddler as Giordano's son. She contacted Hightstown police Thursday afternoon.

"Our first goal, foremost, was to deal with the welfare of the child," said Cpl. Jeff Whitmarsh, a state police spokesman. "The next goal now is finding the mother. . . . We just want to find her to see if she's OK."

Mike Vanderbeck, owner of the Slow Down Cafe in Hightstown, said an employee had seen reports of the abandoned child and told him the boy looked a lot like Giordano's son, Michael Digirolamo.

Curious, Vanderbeck went online a couple of days later to see for himself. After his wife and another person confirmed the likeness, he called police.

Vanderbeck, who said Giordano came into his cafe daily for coffee, had no explanation for her disappearance or the abandonment of the boy.

"I knew her well enough to know that this was an incredibly caring and loving mother," he said. "This woman really took care of this baby."

Delaware police said the boy's pediatrician had confirmed his identity.

Vanderbeck said the boy's father, Roy Digirolamo, paid the $850 monthly rent for Giordano and her son but did not live with them.

Efforts to contact Digirolamo, who works at an appliance manufacturing company in Hightstown, were not immediately successful.

According to Vanderbeck, Giordano had been staying at the apartment, above a nail salon, since April 2006. A couple of months ago, she asked for early termination of her lease, saying she planned to move to Twin Rivers, N.J.

The boy is in temporary foster care under the supervision of the Division of Family Services.