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Deputies search for discarded newborn
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The father of a 15-year-old girl, who admitted to discarding her newborn infant, talks with Sheriff’s officers outside the front gate of his Lathrop home as police concluded their search for a body Friday afternoon. - photo by GLENN KAHL
LATHROP — Sheriff’s deputies were holding out little hope Friday they might still find a discarded newborn alive as they searched the Aries Place home of its 15-year-old mother.

Aries Place is located north of Louise Avenue and east of Interstate 5.

Uniformed officers and detectives went to the home in mid-afternoon to serve a search warrant and found no one at home.  Yellow crime scene tape was stretched across Aries Place at the corner of Easy Avenue blocking both foot and vehicle traffic from entering the area.  Behind the tape TV crews parked their sound trucks and set up tripods and cameras where they would wait for more than three hours.

Children and adults alike stood watch in their front yards and in the street behind the TV cameras waiting for the outcome of the investigation.

Cadaver dogs searched the back yard of the residence for an hour and a half with no results as deputies scoured the interior of the home for any evidence that would lead them to the location of the baby.  A television station’s helicopter circled overhead.

Neighbors said they believed the girl had traveled to Mexico and returned only recently as many in the Mexican culture traditionally visit their family homes south of the border in the spring.

Lathrop Police Services’ deputies first learned of the birth – the girl kept it secret from her parents – on Tuesday from a third-hand friend who made the call to authorities.  Deputies were told the girl had given birth in the bathroom of her home.

Sheriff’s public information officer Les Garcia noted that the teen had been interviewed several times by detectives saying that while she is talking she is not being totally truthful with officers.  He said that she had first admitted she had given the newborn to a friend, but that story was not confirmed by the named friend when officers confronted her about having accepted the baby.  Garcia said it was certain that 15-year-old had given birth, because she was in need of medical treatment after the baby was born.

The girl then told detectives that she had discarded her child in the garbage which launched a two day search by officers at the Austin Road land fill – to no avail.

When the baby’s body is found, a pathologist will determine whether the child was born alive or possibly stillborn.  If the later is the case deputies say there probably will be no charges levied against the mother.

As the officers were some two hours into searching the home, the girl’s father drove up to the blockage in the street and deputies walked him into his home.  It was about a half hour later that the police discontinued the search, however they did remove several paper bags apparently containing some form of evidence.

Doctors were quoted as saying there is little hope for the baby’s survival if it has been left on its own for more than three days.  

Garcia urged that it be reiterated that any newborn less than three days old can be surrendered by its mother to any hospital emergency room or fire station and remain totally anonymous without fear of prosecution.