A 20-year-old B.C. woman is facing infanticide and other charges after police discovered a newborn baby's body in a landfill site on Sunday.
Police said the woman gave birth to a baby boy a week earlier at her boyfriend's home in Richmond. The woman delivered the baby in the bathroom while her boyfriend slept on the couch in the living room, police said.
After giving birth, the woman woke her boyfriend and told him she had had a miscarriage, police said.
Her boyfriend helped the woman wrap the baby in a towel, put him in a garbage bag and discard him in a school dumpster nearby, the police statement said. It's not clear if the baby was alive at this point. Richmond RCMP Corporal Jennifer Pound said "initial information" suggested that the baby wasn't breathing at birth.
An autopsy will be performed to "determine if they can tell if the baby was breathing at the time of birth," Cpl. Pound said.
After the birth, police received a tip from an unknown source about a female who may have been pregnant and delivered and discarded the baby. Police searched the dumpster but were told the contents had been taken to the Burns Bog landfill in nearby Delta.
"Obviously, our priority was to find the baby out there," Cpl. Pound said. About 35 police officers searched the suburban landfill site for days. On Sunday, searchers found the baby's remains. The baby boy appeared to the size of a full term baby, police said.
Police arrested the woman and she has been released. In addition to the infanticide charge, they're also recommending she be charged with neglect to obtain assistance at childbirth, concealing the body of a child, and indignity to a body.
Cpl. Pound said the boyfriend told police he did not know his girlfriend was pregnant until the baby was born. The woman cut the umbilical cord and wrapped the baby in a towel."
"She then went and collected her boyfriend to come in and help her. And that's when, I believe, they put the baby into a bag and discarded it," Cpl Pound said.
The Mountie said the woman's boyfriend is "a person of interest" in the investigation. And he too could face charges.
Cpl. Pound would not discuss the source of the tip.
The woman gave birth to the baby on January 31. Although it was obvious she was pregnant, the woman would not discuss her condition with people she knew. "When they did say something (about her pregnancy), she just denied it the whole way."
The woman went back to work two days after she delivered the baby, claiming to have suffered a miscarriage," Cpl. Pound said.
The investigation is now focused on determining if the baby survived his birth. "It's the number one answer that we're looking to get and hopefully the autopsy will lend some light to that."
If the autopsy shows that the baby was breathing, Cpl. Pound noted, the investigation could shift to a homicide probe."
The woman, who wasn't named because charges haven't been laid, is scheduled for her first court appearance on March 16.