The mother of a newborn found alive last week by a man searching for recyclables in a dumpster in Merced is 13 years old, police said.
Investigators received tips from the public and were able to track down the teenager, who admitted to giving birth to the baby girl, Merced Police Capt. Tom Trindad said.
The girl told investigators she knew she was pregnant before leaving her baby inside the large dumpster Thursday, Trindad said. The girl's mother, however, was apparently not aware of the pregnancy.
The girl was turned over to Merced County's Child Protective Services officials "for her safety," Trindad said.
Investigators are still looking for the baby's father and are trying to determine whether the girl was a victim of sexual abuse. She has not been charged in the incident.
The girl and the newborn, meanwhile, are doing well, he said.
"Everybody feels much relief," Trindad said. "It could have been much more tragic."
The newborn was found about 5:48 a.m. Thursday by a man rummaging through a trash container for recyclables in the 900 block of D Street, police said.
She was reportedly wrapped in a towel and had her umbilical cord still attached.
Jimmy Alvarez, who lived nearby and arrived on the scene after the man who found the baby called for help, said the baby was covered in gnats and trash, so he reached into the trash bin, removed the child and wrapped her in his shirt, KOVR-TV in Sacramento reported.
Emergency medical personnel believe the baby had been inside the dumpster for at least 45 minutes, Trindad said.
News of the discovery has prompted an outpouring of support from people looking to help the baby, Trindad said.
He has also received calls and emails from parents wanting to adopt the baby. Trindad referred the calls to Child Protective Services officials.
The girl and her parents, though, still have parental rights, Trindad said.
"We want to do what's right for all that's involved," he added.