Local News

Police Puzzle Over How Baby Came to Be in Trash

Posted February 7, 2007 11:07 p.m. EST
Updated February 8, 2007 10:09 a.m. EST

A newborn baby boy whose body was found thrown away Wednesday like a piece of trash in a dumpster behind a grocery store in Rocky Mount is the second baby in as many days to be found dead and abandoned.

The baby was found behind the Food Lion off Highway 301. Police said the infant was not wearing any clothes and the umbilical cord was still attached.

On Tuesday, a baby boy was found wrapped in a blanket outside an abandoned house in Warsaw. Two people scouting real estate found the body on the back steps of the house, police said.

Rocky Mount investigators do not know how baby died, they said, or if the child was still alive before being put in the dumpster. Rocky Mount police said a person looking for recyclable cans in the dumpster found a newborn dead. They hope to know more after an autopsy is completed Thursday afternoon.

"To know that somebody would put their child in a dumpster, you know, it's devastating," said Stacy Wheaton, a regular shopper at Food Lion.

Investigators say the child appeared to be white or Hispanic and between 1 and 3 days old.

"I can't imagine things being so bad that you can't take care of your baby. There is always some way to get some help," said Louise Pittman, a shopper leaving the Food Lion.

"You have the option of taking the child to the fire department or a church or something like that where someone would take care of the child," said Wheaton. A church can be seen from the dumpster. Investigators said they have not been able to figure out why the grocery store dumpster was where someone would leave the child.

The Rocky Mount case is also the third newborn abandoned in that area in a little more than a year.

A year ago Tuesday, a man found a newborn boy in the back of a pickup truck. The baby survived.

In November 2005, a woman discovered a baby girl on a church doorstep in Tarboro. She was adopted last October.

North Carolina allows new mothers to give a newborn to a responsible adult as long as the baby is no more than 7 days old. Thirty-four other states also have similar laws.