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A newborn baby was rescued from a dumpster in New Mexico, where police say his teenage mother threw him into a “panic” move that was filmed.
The boy survived and the mother now faces charges, according to Hobbs, New Mexico police. They added that the mother did not know she was pregnant until she gave birth.
A group of people found the baby while searching the dumpster on January 7, police said. At first they thought it was a kitten, but when they found the baby, they called the police.
“The baby was wrapped in a dirty, damp bath towel and had dried blood on it with the umbilical cord still attached,” August Fons, the acting police chief, told a press conference.
The baby was immediately taken to a local hospital and then transferred to another medical facility in Lubbock, Texas.
The boy is now in stable condition.
A local store owner captured CCTV video of the incident on cameras behind his business. The video shows a woman stopping, throwing a bag in the dumpster and then walking away.
Police say they were able to identify the car and its owner from the footage.
Alexis Avila, 18, was later arrested and charged with attempted murder and child abuse.
She didn’t know she was pregnant until January 6, a day before she gave birth, she told police. She first went to the hospital with abdominal pain and constipation, then gave birth unexpectedly the next day.
Police said she “panicked, didn’t know what to do or who to call” after giving birth. It was then that she would have wrapped the baby in the towel and put it in the trash.
“According to the timeline of the surveillance video, the baby was in the dumpster for about 6 hours,” police said.
They added that the father was a minor and his identity had not been released.
The baby is currently in the care of child and family services, police said.
New Mexico is one of many states with a “safe haven” law, which allows new parents to abandon their children within the first 90 days.
Avila public defender Ibukun Adepoju told NBC News the mother was “barely 18 herself” and called the case a “tragedy.”
“As human beings, we should practice compassion while waiting for the justice system to work,” he said.