Lakeland Police have released security camera photos of three women and a man who are “believed to have information” related to the death of a newborn boy whose body was found in a dumpster Thursday morning.
The baby’s body, with the placenta and umbilical cord still attached, was in a plastic bag. Police Chief Sam Taylor said investigators believe it was dumped less than 10 hours before a man rummaging through the dumpster discovered it and called 9-1-1 early Thursday.
Officers responded at 6:03 a.m. – meaning the baby was most likely placed in the dumpster after 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Taylor said investigators won’t know if the baby was stillborn or suffocated in the bag until after the medical examiner completes an autopsy, however, all indications suggest the baby had been a viable fetus.
The surveillance photographs, which appear to have been taken at night, show four individuals who were traveling together in a red sedan near the Just Move fitness center at 3625 S. Florida Ave. around the time the baby’s body is believed to have been dumped.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Detective Neal Robertson at (863) 834-6971 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Persons wishing to make an anonymous tip can do so at Heartland Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-226 TIPS (8477), via the website www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com or through the free “P3tips” app on Apple or Google Play.
Florida has a Safe Haven for Newborns program, enacted in 2000, that allows the mother or father of a newborn up to 10 days old to leave the baby with a staff member at a Safe Haven for Newborns facility, a hospital, or any 24/7 fire or EMS station.
“The law says you will remain anonymous – you don’t have to tell anyone who you are, your name, or your baby’s name. If you share any information with us; we will not share that information with anyone,” the program’s website states.
Pregnant teens or women can also call 1-877-767-BABY (2229) in order to get help or arrange for the baby to be adopted, even before the child is born. The website’s statistics show that 371 newborns have been handed over nationally since the program began, 6,000 women have been helped and 72 women chose to give their children up for adoption.
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