Police investigating after dead newborn left in Saskatoon recycling bin

Saskatoon police confirm they are investigating after the body of a dead newborn was found in a large industrial recycling bin Friday morning, and they're urgently searching for the baby's mother. 

"[I would] stress to her that we are here to provide her with support," said Alison Edwards, spokesperson for the Saskatoon Police Service. 

"This is likely is an emotional and very physically taxing time for her." 

Edwards said police haven't received any tips yet about who or where the mother might be.

She asked the public to report any suspicious incidents to them, or any cases of a woman who appeared to be pregnant, but no longer does, with no evidence of a child being born.

Edwards said police are unsure when the baby was born or how long the baby was dead, however they do know it was born "recently." Investigators believe the baby was born elsewhere.

An autopsy is planned for next Tuesday.

"There are a lot of questions about the circumstances surrounding this and one of them was how long was that baby there," Edwards said.

Stan Bergen, the building manager of a nearby apartment, was standing in front of his building when a man, who was digging through the garbage, approached him and asked him to use his phone. 

The man told Bergen he thought he saw a baby inside a recycling bin in an alleyway of the 400 block of 5th Avenue North just north of downtown Saskatoon. When Bergen went and looked himself, he said he saw a baby wrapped in a bag, frozen.

"I saw a little baby, could be a newborn, or next to it. It was just dumped in a bag, a plastic bag or whatever, and it was just lying there. It was frozen already," he said. "It's a sorry sight to see."

Alicia Bridges/CBC

He then called police, who arrived on scene a short time later. Police said the circumstances leading up to the infant's death are under investigation.

Police said they believe the mother may be in a vulnerable physical and emotional state and are trying to locate her. The Saskatoon Police Service is appealing to anyone with information to contact the force at 306-975-8300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Police said their priority is to provide support to the woman. 

While on scene, police focused their attention on the industrial recycling bin. Some of the officers held up blue tarps to block the scene.

Morgan Modjeski/CBC

Police said they received a call at 8:50 a.m. CST on Friday for a report of an unknown problem.

Saskatoon police are working with the Saskatchewan Coroner's Service to determine the infant's cause of death.  An autopsy is scheduled for Nov. 12.

Bergen said when he called 911, the dispatcher sounded surprised, asking him if he's sure the body was that of a child, and wasn't that of a doll. 

"I didn't know what to think," he said. "I mean who would be so stupid to do something like this?"

Bergen said while activity in the alleyway is not uncommon, he said this situation was a first.