A dead infant was found in a cooler on a conveyor belt at a recycling company May 1.
The baby boy was wrapped in a blue towel inside a small, soft red cooler and was found on the conveyor belt during routine refuse/recyclables separation at Resource Management Company, 10111 S. Anderson Ave. in Chicago Ridge. Employees said the load of refuse began to be loaded onto the conveyor belt at 2:15 a.m., and the cooler was found at 4 a.m. An employee noticed the cooler was heavier than it should have been, police said.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Officer conducted an autopsy May 2, and determined the baby was born in the past seven days and would have survived if medical attention was provided. The baby was between eight and eight and a half months old. The cause of death has not been identified and is pending toxicology reports, police said. The cooler, towel, and DNA samples were taken and sent to the Illinois State Police laboratory for further analysis. If the medical examiner determines the infant was alive at birth, the case will be ruled as a homicide, police said.
The Advanced Disposal garbage truck carrying the cooler made stops in Pleasant Prairie, Wisc., and North Chicago and Waukegan on April 29, police said. The loads were relocated to Kenosha, Wisc., and transferred to a truck which drove to the Chicago Ridge sorting facility on April 30.
Police are working with police officers in those towns to see if they can determine who put the cooler in the trash.
Cmdr. Brian Galske said police are also contacting local hospitals.
“We are relying on the public,” Galske said. “We are looking to see if anyone knows a woman who was pregnant, and is now no longer pregnant and doesn’t have a child. We’re talking to medical centers to see if a female came in and looks like she gave birth, but said she had a miscarriage. It’s terrible.”
Cmdr. Galske said in Illinois, the state has the Newborn Abandonment Protection Act, to help abandoned babies.
“Babies can be left as the police station, a fire station or a hospital, and the baby will be cared for,” Galske said. “They can do that, and then we don’t have to deal with something like this.”