WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The 911 call for help describes the intense moments after a woman walking her dog found a baby in a trash can at a Wilmington church parking lot.
It happened near the Meridian at Fairfield Park Apartments around 5 p.m. Thursday.
“I just found a baby in a trash can,” the woman says to the 911 operator. “It’s just been born and it’s wrapped in a plastic bag … Please come. I just took the trash bag off and it is breathing, but I don’t know for how long.”
The operator says help is on the way and to stay on the line.
“I was walking my dog and went by a trash can and all of the sudden heard a noise of a baby crying and I almost passed it, but I thought I should go back,” the caller said. “I went back and I looked in the trash can and there was a trash bag, and thought “oh my God.” So I went to try to get help, but nobody was there so then I looked at the trash bag and still heard cries so I ripped it open for air and ran to the apartment to get someone to help me.”
She tells the operator that the baby was still bloody and had the umbilical cord wrapped around its neck, but was loose enough for the baby to breathe.
The operator asks if someone had a shoe string to tie off the baby’s umbilical cord, but no one had one.
Another Good Samaritan got on the call while others held the baby and cleared its airways until police arrived.
“How this baby was put into the dumpster in a garbage bag was a travesty. Disgusting, and certainly a criminal act.”
Fortunately, paramedics showed up moments later.
The baby was taken to the hospital. Police say the newborn boy is healthy and doing well.
WPD is still searching for the mother. However, Captain Thomas Tilmon says they’re investigating a number of different leads, and the mother may not be the suspect in this case.
“It could be a real precarious situation,” he said. “There could’ve been a crime, and hiding this baby is part of hiding that crime, and the baby’s mother may be a victim as well.”
Tilmon says they’re investigating alongside the New Hanover County Department of Social Services to find out who the baby belongs to and whether a crime was committed in the baby’s conception.
“How this baby was put into the dumpster in a garbage bag was a travesty,” he said. Disgusting, and certainly a criminal act.”
If you or someone you know is pregnant and feels unable to care for a baby, North Carolina has a safe surrender law.
“Any mother of a child who’s less than seven days old, can surrender their baby to a health care provider, a social services worker, a law enforcement officer or a medic or fireman at a paramedic or fire station,” Tilmon said. “The mother of the child doesn’t have to give their information. This can be totally anonymous.”
Tilmon says this isn’t the first time in his career he’s seen a baby abandoned, so he wants to spread the word about the Safe Surrender Law. He says the law was created to save the lives of babies and keep mothers from being criminally charged.
He commends the Good Samaritans who found the baby and called 911.
“It was a team effort,” Tilmon said. “A community effort to provide care for this baby once they found the baby in the dumpster, and I think all those citizens are absolute heroes.”
Police say the baby boy will be taken care of by social services and found a safe home.