FARMERSVILLE – Police are investigating the death of a newborn baby found in a trash can outside of a home in Farmersville on Monday evening.
The infant was discovered as the owner of the house, located on the 700 block of North Shasta Street, was moving the trash can back into the yard, according to investigators. Police received the call about the infant around 7 p.m. on Monday. When they arrived on the scene, the baby had already been removed from the trash can.
The mother of the baby, 23-year-old Danielle Downing, who lives in the home, was taken to the Farmersville Police Department where she was questioned by investigators.
“She was detained,” Farmersville Police Chief Mario Krstic said. “She was not booked and has been released.”
Police revealed on Wednesday that Downing is the niece of the homeowner.
Police do not yet know whether the baby, a little girl, was born alive or was a still born. They are awaiting an autopsy, which will give them information to help determine the circumstances surrounding the baby’s death.
“Right now we’re classifying it as a suspicious death,” Krstic said.
At this time, police still do not know who the father of the deceased infant is.
Downing, who has two other children, is considered a person of interest in the case. After the autopsy results come back, investigators will determine whether criminal charges will be filed. The autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday, but had to be delayed until Friday because of scheduling conflicts.
Even if a child dies a natural death, the authorities need to be called, Krstic said. That way, investigators can determine the cause of death and handle the body properly.
Under the state’s “Safely Surrendered Baby” law, parents can take unwanted infants to a fire department or hospital within three days of birth and not face an arrest for child abandonment.
Visalia Times-Delta: Farmersville police question woman about dead infant found in trash can
KMPH Fox 26: Baby Girl Found dead in Farmersville Trash Can