Crime

A newborn baby was found in a cooler. Now Troup Co. officials want to find her mother

An official sign from the State of Georgia designates that the Troup County Sheriff’s Office is a ‘safe haven’ to leave an infant if the parents feel that they cannot care for the child, and not face criminal charges. Under the Safe Place for Newborns Act, a parent can leave an infant with an employee of a hospital or medical center, a police station or fire station.
An official sign from the State of Georgia designates that the Troup County Sheriff’s Office is a ‘safe haven’ to leave an infant if the parents feel that they cannot care for the child, and not face criminal charges. Under the Safe Place for Newborns Act, a parent can leave an infant with an employee of a hospital or medical center, a police station or fire station. Troup County Sheriff's Office

Four days after a new born baby was found dead Sunday in a cooler along Boy Scout Road in LaGrange, the mother who abandoned the child hasn’t been identified as investigators continue to pursue leads, a Troup County Sheriff’s Deputy said Thursday.

“We are just hoping somebody will come forward with some information,” said Sgt. Stewart Smith, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office. “We got several tips to Crime Stoppers and our investigators are just following up on that. Nothing is leading us one way or the other at this point.”

Key information about the baby’s death remains unknown after an autopsy was completed on Tuesday but required further blood tests to help determine a cause of death. The testing is expected to take several weeks to months to complete.

The newborn was described as a full term, white female and showed no obvious signs of trauma or injury. Witnesses in the area said the blue portable cooler adorned with watermelon slices has been on the side of the road near the wood line for several days, possibly up to a week.

Smith said authorities have no idea whether they are looking for a local person or someone traveling through the area. Boy Scout Road is located just off Highway 27, a major corridor through LaGrange. “It could be someone from out of town,” he said. “Highway 27, as you know, is a very busy highway. We don’t know at this point.”

To prevent injuries to and deaths of newborn children, the General Assembly passed a law in 2002 that allows a parent to take an infant to a medical facility, fire station or police station up to 30 days after birth without fear of criminal charges.

If the mother is identified, Smith said charges could vary, depending on whether the child was alive or the newborn was killed. The mother could face a homicide charge or a lesser charge of concealing the death of another.

“It could be a range of anything in between,” Smith said. “It’s all going to be determined if we’re able to people that did this tell us what happened. Obviously, there is no excuse for disposing of a child, but it will all be depending on what led up to the death of the child.”

Smith said the sheriff’s office posted a sign outside the building in December to alert mothers about the law.

Anyone with information on an expectant mother who was full term but no longer has a child should contact the sheriff’s office at 706-883-1616 or Troup County Crime Stoppers at 706-812-1000.

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