Sunset Beach : Autopsy Fails to Find Cause of Baby's Death

An autopsy Monday failed to determine the cause of death of a baby girl, a newborn apparently carried to full term, whose body was found floating 150 yards offshore, authorities said.

Sheriff's Lt. Richard J. Olson said the autopsy did reveal that the infant's death "appears to have occurred sometime within the last five days." He added that, based on examination of the umbilical cord still attached to the baby, it also appeared that the mother may have had complications during birth--and may have had to seek medical attention for hemorrhaging.

Pending the results of further microscopic testing to establish the cause of death, Olson said, it was difficult without information from witnesses to determine whether the infant was stillborn, died of natural causes and was discarded at sea, or was a homicide victim.

It may be possible to establish whether the baby ever breathed before its death. But Olson said the microscopic tests may never determine an exact cause of the death because the newborn was surrounded so recently by fluids in the mother's womb.

Boaters came upon the child's unclothed body about 1 p.m. Sunday, floating offshore near Anderson Street at Sunset Beach. They brought the baby's body into the Sunset Beach Harbor Patrol office.

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