Local News

Autopsy Shows Baby Stillborn Before Being Dumped At Fayetteville Recycling Plant

Posted December 25, 2003

— According to preliminary autopsy results, a newborn baby found dead among discarded cardboard Wednesday was stillborn. That means murder charges will not be filed.

Regardless, the discovery hit the community hard on Christmas.

On the same day people celebrated the birth of one child, some also focused on the loss of another.

"How can people continue to do like they do in this day and time, as precious as babies are?" said Ronnie Saxon, a member of a local church.

On the day before Christmas, workers found a dead baby at a recycling plant, dumped in a heap of cardboard. Investigators said Thursday the infant was stillborn, not murdered.

"All of the investigators involved were relieved by the fact that the child had not suffered," said Maj. Sam Pennica, of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators spent hours sifting through garbage looking for clues as the tragedy brought back painful memories of a similar case.

Just more than four years ago, a child who came to be known as Baby Michael was found dumped in a plastic bag. The community pulled together, giving him a tombstone, a name, and a burial.

"With the death of that baby, it just brought a lot of people's thoughts and minds to just how much they cherished their own babies," Saxon said.

Saxon's church found a place for Baby Michael in its cemetery. But, investigators never found his mother.

Pennica said this latest case offers its own challenges.

"What it's going to take is the public's help," he said. "Someone out there, and probably more than one person, knows about the birth of this child."

Next week, investigators plan to search all of the Dumpsters where the baby may have been dumped. There are roughly 60 to choose from.

Also, even though it is not a murder case, the mother could be charged with a felony for secretly throwing away the body of a newborn child.

In the meantime, Saxon hopes for the best -- keeping not one son, but many, in his prayers, especially on Christmas.


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