Jan 12, 2011 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
A dead baby was discovered in a dumpster outside the Pearl Street Apartments, a block south of the railroad tracks in the village of Liverpool at about 10:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 6.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday Liverpool Police and members of the Onondaga County Major Felony Unit conducted a door-to-door canvass of the neighborhood and analyzed the contents of two dumpsters from the 60-unit apartment complex, according to LPD Chief Bill Becker.
“We’re continuing to follow all leads, a couple of which appear quite promising,” Becker said Sunday afternoon. “We started by concentrating on the immediate area, but we’re expanding the investigation as we need to.”
Michael Denardo, who discovered the newborn’s body while he was scavenging the dumpster for scrap wood, said he initially thought it was a toy doll.
Liverpool Police Det. Michael Lemm, the case’s lead investigator, said Denardo is not considered a suspect. If the young man had failed to call 911, Lemm said, the baby may well have remained unfound.
After being called to the scene by Liverpool Police, Rural Metro Ambulance crew members pronounced the infant dead. The body was removed to the Onondaga County medical Examiner’s Office in Syracuse.
Investigators have declined to identify the baby’s race or sex.
Inside the dumpsters, police found several items which they can use to set a time line for the placement of the newborn in the large, green Waste Management trash receptacle.
“We recovered some items that will help us in creating what we call lead sheets,” Becker said, “nothing directly involved [with the victim] but which give us time frames and people to talk to, people who may have seen something specific.”
An autopsy was conducted on Friday, and preliminary results have been released to investigators and the county District Attorney’s office. Becker said a cause and manner of death – whether the baby’s death was accidental or intentional – have yet to be officially determined.
“It could have been stillborn, and the parent or parents may have panicked,” the chief said. “We’re just trying to identify who the parents are and bring it to a conclusion by interviewing them.”
The mother’s condition is also a concern. “If this was the result of an unattended birth, we need to make sure that she receives the proper medical attention,” Becker said.
The chief appealed to members of the public to come forward with any information that may be helpful, by calling 457-0722. Information can be left anonymously at extension 6.
“People may not even know that what they saw was important,” Becker said, “but we need to know what they may have seen or heard.”
Temperatures hovered below 20 degrees on Thursday night in the village, which would have hastened the infant’s death if it had been alive when placed in the dumpster. “Newborns are so small that they lose body temperature very quickly,” Becker said.
The chief and his investigators remain non-judgmental toward the infant’s parents, he said, “but every death investigation we do must be treated as a homicide until the medical examiner tells us it’s not.”
The newborn itself “can talk to us via the autopsy,” Becker said. “The baby can tell us whether it was full-term, whether it was stillborn or alive, and the toxicology can tell us about the health of the mother, was she a substance abuser, for instance?”
Toxicology results normally take a week or more.
Under the auspices of the county’s Major Felony Unit, LPD is assisted in the investigation by detectives from Manlius, Camillus and the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office. The DA’s office, Child Protective Services and the State Police are also aiding the effort.
For more on the investigation, see this week’s Livin’ in Liverpool.