Dead newborn discovered in Hazelwood apartment

This isn’t infanticide, officials day. Here’s why …

Police tape is strung on trees surrounding an outer East Portland apartment complex in the Hazelwood neighborhood, as investigators probe the discovery of a dead newborn baby.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

An official death investigation got underway at 11:30 a.m. on February 21, after the lifeless body of a newborn baby was discovered in a unit at Ascot Acres Apartments, on the corner of SE 139th Avenue and Stark Street.

An occupant of the apartment, David Hernandez, told reporters that an eight-months-pregnant “friend”, whom Portland Police Bureau (PPB) only identifies as a “21-year-old woman”, complained about stomach pain the previous night and that morning.

Notebooks in hand, police Homicide and the Child Abuse Team investigators reveal their findings.

On Sunday morning, the woman spent considerable time in the apartment’s bathroom. After she emerged, someone called the 9-1-1 Center requesting an ambulance for the woman. Hernandez said found blood all over the bathroom floor, and a dead baby wrapped in a towel.

“Officers and medical personnel arrived and confirmed the newborn was deceased,” said PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson. “Officers learned that a woman was previously transported to the hospital from the residence earlier today.”

Red tape marks the area where investigators focus their attention.

PPB detectives assigned to Homicide and the Child Abuse Team spent the afternoon, and into the evening hours, conducting a death investigation, helped by criminalists from the Forensic Evidence Division.

A Multnomah County Medical Examiner pulled up to the scene at about 2:00 p.m. that afternoon, and joined the investigating team.

The Multnomah County Medical Examiner pulls up to the scene.

The following day, the Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy. The Medical Examiner subsequently revealed that they’d determined that the death was a stillbirth.

“Detectives were able to determine that the 21-year-old woman, who was taken to the hospital, was the baby’s mother,” Simpson reported. “She remains in the hospital, receiving medical and mental health treatment.
“Detectives are continuing to investigate the circumstances of this incident, and will present their investigation to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office upon completion,” Simpson concluded.

Sergeant Robert Slyter directs the PPB Mobile Precinct into position on SE Stark Street.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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