California police believe that a Hermiston teacher is the mother of a newborn baby found dead in a waste disposal site just outside Sacramento.
A worker at the Nortech Waste facility found the 10-pound infant girl last Monday while sorting trash for recyclable items. The baby's body was wrapped in a plastic bag, her umbilical cord still attached.
Neither police nor the Hermiston School District will release the mother's name at this time, though a Roseville Police spokeswoman said the woman lives in Pendleton. Hermiston School District officials heard about the case Thursday from a Roseville Police Department investigator.
"Police have determined that our employee is the mother," said Mark Mulvihill. "At this time, we understand that no charges have been filed by the California district attorney and the employee is not under arrest."
Mulvihill said the district is cooperating with the investigation and is withholding the woman's name at the request of law enforcement.
"The district is carefully considering its obligations in this matter while awaiting further information from the authorities," Mulvihill said. "We are deeply saddened by the circumstances surrounding this tragedy."
Police tracked the woman from evidence found at the scene.
"There was some mail in the bag that led police to a home in Roseville," said Dee Dee Gunther, spokeswoman for the Roseville Police Department.
Investigators later determined the birth took place in Roseville where the woman was visiting friends. They haven't determined whether foul play was involved, or if the baby was stillborn.
"An autopsy was completed, but preliminary results were inconclusive as to the cause of death and whether the baby was born alive," Gunther said.
Gunther said the department will release the mother's name if she is charged with a crime. If the baby was stillborn, she could be charged with unlawful disposition of human remains, which is a misdemeanor.
California legislators passed a law in 2001 to avoid just such a scenario. Under the Safe Haven Law, women may surrender babies at hospitals or fire stations within 72 hours of birth. Since the law's passage, 182 babies have been surrendered and been adopted out.