Newborn Baby Found Dead in Dumpster in Hidden Hills

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A newborn baby boy, his umbilical cord still attached, was found dead Thursday morning in a dumpster outside a Hidden Hills mansion under construction, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies said.

The cause of death was unknown, pending an autopsy by the county coroner. Lt. Frank Merriman of the sheriff's homicide bureau said it appeared that the baby had been in the dumpster overnight. If it turns out that the infant was killed, it will be the first homicide ever recorded in Hidden Hills, Deputy Fidel Gonzales said.

Hidden Hills is a gated city of sprawling houses in the western San Fernando Valley near Calabasas.

Entry is limited by security guards to the 2,000 or so residents, their visitors and their employees.

The infant was found about 8:40 a.m. by an employee of the Las Virgenes Disposal Co. when he arrived to pick up trash in the dumpster and noticed a new blue duffel bag under cardboard boxes. Merriman said the employee intended to salvage the bag until he looked inside and saw the dead baby.

Because the baby appeared to be Latino and because most of the residents in Hidden Hills are white, sheriff's deputies and neighbors speculated that the newborn baby may have been left there by an employee or a member of an employee's family.

Only a bloody rag and the placenta were found inside the duffel bag. The rest of the contents of the dumpster were hauled away by the disposal company before sheriff's deputies arrived.

"Now we have to go to the landfill and rake through his load" to search for other clues, Merriman said. "Unfortunately, he made about 50 pickups after he left here."

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