Autopsy: Infant found in east side creek was newborn

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The shocking discovery of an infant's body in Lick Creek off East 16th Street in Indianapolis has police and residents looking for answers. Investigators are trying to find the mother of the newborn boy found dead in the creek Sunday afternoon.

A man who lives on Gibson Ave. was taking his dog for a stroll when he stumbled upon the disturbing find. The man did not want to give his name. He alerted police.

The creek also runs behind Chuck Jackson's home. He has questions for the baby's mother.

"I can't even imagine what I would say. I would probably ask her why she did it. I just can't imagine anybody doing that to a human being," he said.

Jackson says he wishes the baby's mother had considered her options.

"She could have dropped it off at a local fire station. There's people in line waiting to adopt," Jackson said, referring to the state's safe haven law.

Indiana law allows babies who are unharmed to be dropped off at fire stations without any questions asked.

The coroner is still working to determine the infant's race, approximate time of birth and death, plus how the baby died.

The area where 16th Street travels over the creek is a busy one, and investigators are already getting tips about suspicious activity in the neighborhood and by the creek. They hope one of those tips will help lead them to the mother.

Some neighbors speculated that the baby may have been placed in the creek during a power outage Saturday night.

"God help us all." Those were the first words Jill Larson could utter, after hearing one of her neighbor's had found the infant's body in a nearby creek. "I just can't comprehend it, can't comprehend it," continued Larson.

Larson said she couldn't imagine the baby belonged to anyone in the neighborhood, "Everybody knows each other. We take care of each other. We let each other know when there's problems in the neighborhood, bring each other cookies," she explained.

"Police cars all over the place. There was four of 'em in my side yard," said Jackson of the scene earlier that morning near his home on Fenwick Avenue when he returned home from church and Sunday brunch. "I walked up the street here and talked to one of the police officers," explained Jackson.

"I'm horrified. It's horrible, horrible that somebody would do this," said Jackson.

"Just hearing that it was because a little baby was abandoned in the creek, it is, that's pretty tough. That's hard to deal with," said Art Denecke, a youth minister at nearby Trinity Lutheran Church and School.

Denecke approached the news of the still unknown baby and how it was found, with compassion and faith, despite such terrible circumstances.

"In a couple weeks, we're going to be celebrating Easter and as we celebrate Easter, I just pray and I know that we have a graceful God that loved that little baby that was in the creek," said Denecke.

Anyone with information regarding the mother of the infant is asked to please call IMPD at 327-3475 or Crime Stoppers at 262-TIPS (8477). There are concerns for the mother's physical and emotional well being. The detectives would also like to speak with her if possible.

Indiana Safe Haven law

Although the circumstances of the baby's death are unknown at this point, it's worth noting Indiana's Safe Haven Law.

The Indiana Safe Haven Law enables a person to give up an unwanted infant anonymously without fear of arrest or prosecution.

A parent, family member, friend, minister or priest, social worker or any responsible adult may give up custody of a baby less than 45 days old to a hospital emergency room, fire station or police station in Indiana.

As long as there are no signs of intentional abuse on the baby, no information is required of the person leaving the baby. Any knowledge of the date of birth, race, parent medical history, child's health or anything that would be useful to the child's caregiver would be greatly appreciated.

Once the baby is examined and given medical treatment (if needed), the Indana Department of Child Services will take the baby into custody through Child Protective Services where it will be placed with a caregiver.

Distressed parents can receive counseling and get addresses and directions for any hospital, fire station or police station in Indiana by calling the Safe Haven Hotline, 1-877-796-HOPE (4673), or 2-1-1. Parents can learn more by visiting the National Safe Haven Alliance in Indiana website to get more information.