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Liverpool Police probe death of baby found in dumpster

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.

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