LAKELAND, Fla. – A newborn baby boy was found dead Thursday morning in a dumpster in Lakeland, according to police.
Police Chief Sam Taylor said during a news conference that a man discovered the baby’s body in a bag while going through the dumpster on South Florida Avenue.
Taylor said the baby was likely less than 10 hours old and the placenta and umbilical cord were still attached. The medical examiner will officially determine the child’s cause of death.
Police said detectives are working to determine who left the baby in the trash.
Taylor said there were two locations nearby where the baby could have been left under the state’s Safe Haven Laws, where a parent can anonymously surrender a newborn up to 7 days old without fear of prosecution. Babies can be taken to any hospital, emergency medical service station or fire station staffed with full-time emergency medical service technicians, paramedics or firefighters.
Florida also has one Safe Haven Baby Box, located in Ocala. There are 134 baby boxes nationwide.
The boxes have a heater, cooling unit and are alarm-activated. The silent alarm alerts firefighters there is a baby in the box 60 seconds after the newborn is placed in it. Once the baby is inside, the outer door locks and only safety or medical personnel can access it.
Florida’s baby box has been used once, in January.
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