TURLOCK -- Police on Saturday night were looking for the mother of a newborn who was found in a Dumpster at a shopping center parking lot.
The infant was warm to the touch but appeared to be dead when emergency crews arrived, said Sgt. Steven Williams, a Turlock police spokesman. The infant was taken by ambulance to a hospital where, despite efforts to revive the child, it was pronounced dead. Williams did not know the baby's gender but said it appeared to be white.
About 4:30 p.m., Turlock police received a report that an infant had been found in a Dumpster at the Save Mart parking lot in the 1600 block of Lander Avenue. The infant appeared to be a late- to full-term baby, Williams said.
He said there were no obvious signs of foul play. Williams said authorities are concerned about the mother's health. They asked her to call Turlock police or at least to go to an emergency room to ensure that her health is stable.
"We are making no assumptions at this point," Williams said.
Turlock police secured the scene, collected evidence and interviewed witnesses. Detectives still were at the scene Saturday night. The baby was found in a Dumpster just south of the Save Mart. Williams did not identify the people who found the newborn but said they were not Save Mart employees. He did not know whether there were surveillance cameras nearby, but said the Dumpster can be seen from Highway 99.
Williams said police can't recall a previous case of a baby being found dead in Turlock. He said an autopsy will be conducted within the next day or two.
Police reminded the public of the Safely Surrendered Baby Law, which was implemented in 2001. The state law encourages parents or persons with lawful custody to surrender an infant at a "safe surrender site" within 72 hours of the child's birth.
The law provides a safe place for babies, protects parents from prosecution for child abandonment, does not require that names be given, and allows the parents at least 14 days to reclaim the baby.
Williams said "safe surrender sites" in Turlock include the fire stations at 540 E. Marshall St., 791 S. Walnut Road, 501 E. Monte Vista Ave. and 2820 N. Walnut Road, and Emanuel Medical Center at 825 Delbon Ave.
Turlock police ask anyone with information about this incident to call Detective Sergio Perez at 668-5550, ext. 6744. Tipsters also can call Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. Callers can leave anonymous tips and may be eligible for a cash reward.
Bee City Editor Patty Guerra contributed to this report.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2394.