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KC police: ‘We pray that somebody didn’t intentionally hurt’ baby found dead in field

Police are calling on the community to help identify a baby found dead Saturday in a field in Kansas City.

Police have described the child as a “small baby,” but the age and gender had not yet been determined as of Sunday afternoon, said Sgt. Jake Becchina, a spokesman for the Kansas City Police Department.

“Right now the biggest thing is we know there are people in the community that know what happened here. There has to be. There’s no other explanation for it,” Becchina said during a press conference Sunday. “Today on Mother’s Day, there’s at least one mother who is without their baby, and those people know who they are and they have the answers that investigators need, whatever that explanation is.”

A teddy bear sits on a pile of rocks off Pittman Road, close to East 41st Street, near the entrance to a field where a small baby was found dead Saturday, May 13, 2023, Kansas City police said. Crime scene tape remained up two days later.
A teddy bear sits on a pile of rocks off Pittman Road, close to East 41st Street, near the entrance to a field where a small baby was found dead Saturday, May 13, 2023, Kansas City police said. Crime scene tape remained up two days later.

On Saturday, a neighbor was walking through “an open, uninhabited area” near a wooded area across the street from some homes near East 41st Street and Pittman Road when they came across a body, Becchina said.

Police were called to the scene around 7:45 p.m. that evening. A full squad of homicide detectives was among them, Becchina said.

Detectives returned to the scene Sunday morning to collect more evidence in the daylight and to canvass the area and speak to those living in homes and apartments in the area, and those experiencing homelessness in the nearby woods.

The case is currently a death investigation because so much is still unknown about how the baby died.

Becchina said detectives are waiting on results from the medical examiner to make determinations including the gender of the baby, how old the baby was and how the baby died. Police will then determine whether to continue pursuing the case as a death or homicide investigation based on whether it appeared the baby was killed by another person.

“We pray that somebody didn’t intentionally do this to this baby, but we’ll find out,” Becchina said.

As of Sunday, it was too early for authorities to say if the baby had been injured, or what those injuries might be. It was also still unknown when the baby died, though Becchina said it was clear the baby didn’t die as recently as Saturday.

“Not knowing the full story is hard,” he said. “I know every one of these investigators, they want to know what happened and what led to this, whatever the explanation is. We pray that somebody didn’t intentionally hurt this baby, that maybe there’ someone out there that panicked; a situation came up and they didn’t know how to deal with it.”

He said finding out who the baby was will be a huge challenge, adding that no babies are currently reported missing that match this case.

“Without somebody coming forward, it’s hard to quantify how big of a challenge it is,” Becchina said.

Police are asking anyone with information on the baby to contact the homicide unit at 816-234-5043 or the anonymous TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.