The search for an alleged missing baby at an Avon, Mass., recycling facility earlier this month has been called off, but police say they are still looking at potential leads and are not ready to conclude that it was a hoax.
The Newton Police Department and Massachusetts State Police searched through more than 100 tons of debris between Oct. 1 and Oct. 4 at the Recycle America Alliance facility after a Newton, Mass. resident found a note in an empty cardboard box inside of his recycling bin saying that a 15-year-old girl named “Bimini” was abandoning her four-month-old infant “Sonny.”
There were no signs such as a blanket or pacifier that would indicate that a baby was in the box, according to WCVB-TV in Needham, Mass.
According to The Enterprise newspaper in Brockton, Mass, there are two people in Newton named “Bimini,” but neither is connected to the case.
Officers went through the debris at the Waste Management-owned facility with rakes, shovels and by hand, but the search was suspended after Oct. 4 with no success.
On Oct. 12, Newton police said they haven’t been able to confirm if there was a missing child, but they will continue to follow up on leads.
Carrie Griffiths, a Waste Management Inc. spokesperson, said the company takes its cues from law enforcement during these situations.
Depending on instructions, the company may segregate loads or shut down facilities if it is asked to. It’s handled on a case-by-case by basis, Griffiths said.
“We have safety procedures and safety policies. Those apply to any number of operations we’re conducting,” she said. “We work with them cooperatively.”
Griffiths said Waste Management has been working with public health agencies to raise awareness about baby abandonment. She mentioned that there are safe-haven laws that allow people to drop off children at hospitals as well as police and fire departments.
In Massachusetts, infants no older than seven days old and showing no signs of abuse or neglect can be legally surrendered, according to the state’s Health and Human Services Department.
Authorities are asking the letter-writer to come forward.
“We have to know if the incident is real, if there’s a child involved, or if it’s a prank gone out of hand,” Newton police Lt. Bruce Apotheker told The Enterprise earlier this month. “We have investigators spending time investigating this.”
Police also canvassed the neighborhood where the note was found, but no one said they heard cries or anything suspicious, the Boston Herald reported.
Griffiths said baby abandonment is a serious issue.
“Baby abandonment is a national issue,” Griffiths said. “No one wants this to happen. It’s horrifying.”
Contact Waste & Recycling News reporter Vince Bond Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or 313-446-1653.