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Oct 14, 1998

Newborn baby found dead at dump

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It’s a story that we are used to seeing in the U.S. news media: a newborn baby, unwanted by its teenaged mother, is abandoned and left for dead. Tonight that story — or perhaps some as yet unknown variation of it — tops the news right here in Belize. This morning we were called to the city dump on the Western Highway… and what we found was not a pleasant sight. Patrick Jones reports.

Patrick Jones

“The gruesome discovery was made by human scavengers who were going through the morning’s garbage. They immediately informed the security officer who came to investigate.”

Emilio Miller was the officer on duty when the garbage truck which has picked up garbage in the Belama phase two area of the city, unloaded its contents this morning.

Emilio Miller, Security, Belize Waste Control

“A guy told me they found a young baby, but to my opinion, I saw the baby was about a week old or something like that. So what I did, I pick up the baby from the ground and I put it in a box and brought it to the front.”

Miller says its not the first time that macabre discoveries have been made at the dump site, but it’s the first time that a whole body has been found. Joslyn Thompson, the man who found the dead baby was making his daily search for scrap metal.

Joslyn Thompson, found the baby

“I was looking up for some aluminum things right, and I discovered this little child, but I thought it was a dolly. So I just passed by and after that another guy who was hustling, looked down and on his discovery he said, “no bwai, this is flesh and blood”. So I went to the bulldozer man and told him please don’t run over this area because a child is here.”

Police arrived on the scene shortly after reporters and in the course of their investigation, found that along with the child’s body were what appear to be medical instruments. These have been taken, along with the body, for forensic examination by Dr. Mario Estradabran.

Q: “Mr. Thompson, when you found the child, was it in a bag or was it in a box? Where was it?”

Joslyn Thompson

“In a plastic bag, but the bag was already opened. I’m used to seeing all, dead dogs and this sort of thing, but a human being, it looks kind of frightening indeed.”

While this morning’s discovery at the garbage dump was frightening to say the least, police believe that somewhere in this neighborhood, there may be one very frightened young woman. Patrick Jones for News Five.

Police would not comment on the case and the results of a postmortem will not be available until tomorrow. It would appear, however, that the baby was a newborn, perhaps brought into the world by a mother desperate to hide the fact from her family. The presence of surgical instruments suggests that the mother had assistance with the delivery. Whether something went terribly wrong during the birth or the baby’s death was planned, is something that at this time remains a terrible secret.

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