OILDALE, CA - Homicide detectives are investigating the death of a newborn girl in Oildale, after her body was found in a trash bin. A man made the heartbreaking discovery Friday morning, as he brought in his brown trash bin.
It happened near the corner of Beardsley Avenue and Oildale Drive. Detectives and patrol deputies canvassed the neighborhood, looking for witnesses.
Neighbors told 17 News part of the investigation focuses on an apartment complex where a pregnant woman has been missing for several days.
Reggie Groves was horrified when he went outside to pull in his trash bin from the curb and realized it wasn't empty.
"I can't imagine who would do something like that," said Groves. "I looked in and I thought maybe it was a sick joke, like a baby doll or something."
Groves said he opened the lid on the bin and found a dead newborn girl. "It was just kind of shocking," he explained.
The baby's umbilical cord was still attached, according to Groves. He said the baby had an abrasion on her head. "It was black like it got burned, a head wound," he noted.
Groves started crying and called 911. Groves said he is a father of five and grandfather of 15, with two more on the way.
Detectives taped off the neighborhood and started going door to door to interview neighbors. That is when Leann Peterson says a worried man stopped and asked if she had seen his daughter, who he said he hadn't seen in four days.
"I said who's your daughter? He was describing her and I said oh, she stays over here? And he goes yes, have you seen her?" explained Peterson.
"I said four days ago was the last time I saw her and she was walking down Oildale Drive, pregnant, fighting with the, I assume, baby's dad," she continued.
Neighbors said the couple argued frequently and the woman was ready to deliver at any time. "Any day. Any day she would have popped," said Peterson.
17 News asked the Sheriff's Department if there was any connection between the woman and the dead newborn. A Sheriff's spokesman said detectives are following multiple leads.
"It doesn't appear that the infant is more than a few days old," said Ray Pruitt, Kern County Sheriff's Department.
Deputies said they don't know if the baby was alive when she was placed in the trash bin. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.
"Obviously this is a disturbing case," noted Pruitt. "Anytime you have a situation like this, where you have a newborn or an infant located is deceased, we take those types of cases very seriously as does the community," he continued.
If you have any information about this case, call the Sheriff's Department at 861-3110. You can also call the Secret Witness hotline at 322-4040.
Anonymous text tips can be sent to TIP411 (847411). Type the keyword "KCSO" prior to sending the message.