Remains of recently born baby found in recycling center

Remains of recently born baby found in recycling center »Play Video
An employee at EFI Recycling found a newborn baby dead at the recycling center Tuesday morning.

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A newborn baby was found dead Tuesday morning at a North Portland recycling center, police and the county medical examiner said.

Officers were called at about 8:30 a.m. to EFI Recycling at 4325 N. Commerce St. after an employee found the remains among the recycling.

The medical examiner said the young girl was born recently and still had her umbilical cord attached.

The girl was born alive and breathing then died sometime later, according to the medical examiner. She was born at or near term.

The officers who first responded to the scene called in the medical examiner, forensic criminalists and homicide detectives to investigate further, according to a news release from the Portland Police Bureau.

Police said the baby was African American or mixed race.

The cause of the baby's death is still under investigation. And police are working with employees of the recycling center to determine how the baby ended up there.

Investigators say it's too early to know if there was a crime committed but finding the mother is their top priority.

"Right now we're focused on finding mom and making sure she's OK. There are physical issues after birth you need to be worried about," said Portland police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson. "Then go through and figure out how we got to this point, what happened. (It's) really hard to say about charges and that kind of stuff. We're not there yet, we're conducting an investigation."

EFI Recycling president and CEO, Scott Jenkins, released a statement Tuesday afternoon, expressing sadness over the situation and hoped whoever did it would be caught.

"On Tuesday, May 28 at 8:30am, one of our employees found human remains on the commercial sort line. Authorities were notified immediately and our facility was closed while detectives investigated the scene. We are saddened by these events and trust the police will find and punish those responsible," Jenkins wrote.

Crime Stoppers Oregon is offering a $1,000 reward that leads to an arrest in the case. Police are asking the public to help them figure out how the baby ended up at the recycling center. They say the mother may have sought medical attention.

Tips can be left anonymously at Crime Stoppers website, text CRIMES (274637) with 823HELP in the subject line followed by the tip information or call 503-823-HELP (4357).

Oregon's Safe Haven Law

Under Oregon's Safe Haven law, a parent can give up a newborn child at an "authorized facility," which includes hospitals, fire stations, police stations, sheriff's offices, doctor's offices or birthing centers with no questions asked.

In such a case the Department of Human Services takes custody of the child.

The baby must be 30 days or younger and have no evidence of abuse.

The law says the persons and the facility that takes custody of the child will be immune from criminal or civil liability.