Loudoun Co. sheriff releases autopsy results of dead newborn

The pond is surrounded by several backyard ponds, and is not far from Algonkian Elementary School. (WTOP/Hank Silverberg)

UPDATE: Monday – 4/8/2013, 5:01pm ET

WASHINGTON – The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office has released more information on the baby girl found dead in a Sterling pond Sunday.

Based on an autopsy, officials say the baby had been in the water no more than one or two days.

Sheriff Mike Chapman says there was no food found in her stomach, indicating she had been placed there not too long after she was born.

The autopsy could not determine if the baby had been stillborn.

The baby girl, who was either white or Hispanic, weighed seven pounds and was full term.

Officials are working with local schools and other groups to try and find the mother.

Commonwealth Attorney Jim Plowman says he won’t discuss any possible criminal charges until they learn more about the circumstances of the baby’s birth.

EARLIER: Monday – 4/8/2013, 5:22am ET

WASHINGTON – The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of a newborn found in a Sterling, Va., pond Sunday morning.

The office says it received a call from somebody walking by the man-made pond near Awsley Court in the CountrySide area around 11:42 a.m. Sunday.

Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman says it appears the newborn girl was dumped in the pond.

Investigators are looking for the mother, and are worried about her medical condition. The mother is asked to call 703-777-1021 or go to the nearest hospital.

“We are actually working with our school resources officers and Child Protective Services to try to identify anybody who might have been expecting a child that may have been young and afraid of the situation they’re in,” says Chapman.

The child’s birth did not take place in a hospital, the sheriff’s office says.

Anyone with any information about the mother’s identity or who saw anything suspicious should call 703-777-0475.

The backyards of several homes border the pond, which is not far from Algonkian Elementary School.

“It is exactly the last thing I was expecting, but I’m just saddened by this,” says John Shook, who lives in the neighborhood.

Chapman says the death could probably have been avoided if the mother knew about the state’s “safe haven” law.

In Virginia, a baby up to 14 days old can be left with any hospital employee or emergency squad without risk of prosecution.

“We really need to make sure that young girls know this, and to not be afraid of the situation that they’re in,” says Chapman.

D.C. and Maryland also have safe haven laws. In Maryland, a baby up to 10 days old can be left with any responsible adult, hospital or at another designated location without risk of prosecution.

In D.C., any unharmed baby up to 7 days old can be left with an EMS employee or at any hospital, fire or police department without risk of prosecution.

WTOP’s Hank Silverberg contributed to this report. Follow @hsilverbergWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.


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