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Burned baby death: Kern County sheriff's investigation at standstill

The investigation into the death of a newborn baby found beaten and burned in a trash dumpster in Oildale has come to a standstill, Kern County Sheriff’s Department investigators said Thursday.

“I’ve been working in law enforcement for 25 years and this is the only case that I can recall where the baby was murdered, dumped and abandoned, and we really have no indication who the parents were,” said Kern County sheriff’s spokesman Ray Pruitt.

“Obviously, this baby was the victim of a violent crime and it’s a troubling case," he continued. "We believe it’s solvable. But we really need assistance from the public.”

According to authorities, the days-old baby was found in a trash dumpster June 21 in front of a home in Oildale, just outside the Bakersfield city limits. The homeowner had put his trash can outside the morning of June 20 and then went back to get it June 21.

As the man rolled the trash bin up to his home, he felt the bin was empty minus a single item inside. He opened the lid and found the burned body with a head wound and the umbilical cord still attached. He initially thought it was a doll and asked a relative to come see if the body was real, the Bakersfield Californian reported.

Investigators later determined it was the body of a newborn girl who appeared to be of Caucasian or Asian descent, Pruitt said.

Investigators combed the neighborhood, asking residents if they knew of anyone in the area who had recently been pregnant. Detectives checked local hospitals to see if they had treated anyone who was recently pregnant and checked the baby’s DNA to see if it matched anyone in law enforcement databases. They came up negative.

“There’s got to be someone out there that knew a female who was pregnant, it would’ve been about June 19 or 20," Pruitt said. "The baby wasn’t more than one or two days old at the moment. This is a case that we really do want to solve…This child was obviously killed by someone.” 

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Twitter: @josephserna

Joseph.serna@latimes.com

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