31 Aug 2021

Police scour CCTV to find mum of baby left at Onehunga recycling facility

8:10 pm on 31 August 2021

Police investigating the discovery of a baby girl's body at an Auckland recycling facility are scouring CCTV footage from around 100 trucks to find out how she ended up there.

No caption

Photo: 123rf.com

The baby's body was discovered on the evening of 16 August by a worker who initially thought she was a doll.

Counselling and additional support have been offered to staff at the plant.

The baby was found alongside some clothes and a blue plastic bag, which police have released photos of as part of their investigation.

Detective Inspector Scott Beard said it wasn't yet clear if those items were linked to the baby, but about a dozen people had been in touch to share information, which was being followed up.

"For example, some people think they've identified, or know, of the clothing, but that's taking some time to backtrack where it all came from.

"We don't know 100 percent that the clothing and that blue bag is actually linked to the baby, or if it's just found in the vicinity."

A cause of death has yet to be established for the baby, who was born at full term, and toxicology tests were still being done.

Police have yet to pinpoint an area of the city, or a route, she may have arrived at the recycling facility from.

Beard said more than 100 trucks had come into the plant on the Monday the body was found, and CCTV footage from those trucks was taking some time to review.

"We're having to prioritise around the timing of those trucks and then work out the routes where their pickups have been that day."

He said police were keeping open-minded about what could have happened to the baby and remained concerned about her mother's welfare.

"Look, it could well be that it's a very young mother there - it could be embarrassment, it could be cultural issues as to why the baby hasn't been born in a maternity ward and it's been hidden from us... you know there's a variety of reasons and we've got to keep an open mind."

He said the mother would need some help and support, which was the first priority, but recognised it may not be practical for her, or those who know her, to contact police.

"Even if you don't go directly to police, go to a counsellor, go to someone - ultimately we'd like them to come to police, but I understand that that's not always going to be easy for them, and it might be that they use a third party to come to police."

Until police knew the full circumstances of the baby's death, Beard said they wouldn't know what they were dealing with.

"It could well be that whenever this is raised in the media, the topic of the baby girl, there's a person out there... who acts very strangely or goes into a shell, or something like that."

He said people noticed that - and if they did, then they should contact police.

"Let us work out whether that is the mother or not."

The Onehunga community has offered support in laying the baby to rest, including a funeral service, gifts and a casket.

Detective Inspector Beard said police were not in a position to release the baby at this stage.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs