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Police investigate possible baby abandonment in Newton

Posted by Derek McLean  October 2, 2011 10:21 PM

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NEWTON — Police searched around Eastern Massachusetts late into Saturday night, after a Newtonville resident on Friday found a box containing a note asking the finder to take care of a baby, but no baby has been found.

Police were called to Otis Street shortly after the box was found around 6 p.m. Friday, said Lieutenant Bruce Apotheker.

The resident was bringing in his trash barrels, when he spotted the box inside his recycling bin, according to Apotheker. The handwritten note appeared to come from a teenage mother named Bimini, asking whoever found the box to take care of her 4-month-old daughter, Sonny.

‘‘It appeared that the mother was abandoning the daughter,’’ the Newton lieutenant said.
But no baby was there. No one reported seeing anything suspicious or hearing any cries.

Apotheker said the recycling was picked up around 2 p.m. Friday. State Police were called to assist, activating a Special Emergency Response Team of troopers who went in search of the infant.

State Police tracked the recyclables picked up along the route to a Recycle America facility in Avon, said David Procopio, a State Police spokesman. Fifteen troopers and a Newton officer combed 250 tons of debris.

‘‘State troopers are working with the facility manager down there to search an area of that facility where the recyclables from this route would have been deposited,’’ Procopio said. ‘‘We know we’re in the right area of the facility, because we’re seeing items that came from Newton.’’

State Police ended their search around 11 p.m. Saturday. Troopers do not plan to return to the facility Sunday, but Newton police could come back Monday.

“At this point, barring discovery of any new evidence, searchers do not plan to return [Sunday],” Procopio said. “Even though the material that most likely would contain any evidence was searched today, Newton police intend to be present on Monday to observe as facility employees sort debris from other parts of the facility, in order to ensure that no other materials contain any evidence.”

The box had a UPS label with an Attleboro address. Police determined the package was delivered last year and that the addressee had no connection to the incident.

While police are confident there’s nothing to be found at the recycling center, and there are no reports of missing babies, they haven’t concluded that the incident is a hoax.

‘‘We’re treating this to be a legitimate incident until we’re proved otherwise,’’ Apotheker said.

State Police echoed that approach.

‘‘If it’s real, it’s unthinkable, but we’re treating it as such. It could be a child’s life in the balance,’’ Procopio said.

The box was found in a neighborhood of single-family homes. Residents said it’s the kind of neighborhood where everyone knows everyone.

Newton officials placed a reverse 911 call to residents, telling them about the incident.
‘‘That really freaked me out,’’ said resident Kimberly Henning, 36. ‘‘I have a 2-year-old, and any story like that ... is really scary.’’

Anyone with information is asked to call Newton police at 617-796-2100 or 617-796-2104, or State Police at 508-820-2121, or by dialing 911 on a cell phone.

John M. Guilfoil can be reached at jguilfoil@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globe_guilfoil.

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