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Possible infant remains found buried in Riverside park

A view of the San Gabriel Mountains from Martha McLean Anza Narrows Park off Jurupa Avenue in Riverside. Police recovered remains, possibly of an infant, in the park late Thursday.
(Tracy Lee Silveria / Los Angeles Times)

Investigators recovered the remains, possibly of an infant, late Thursday in a Riverside park after a homeless woman told them she had buried her baby there shortly after birth a year ago.

The Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office will examine the remains to determine if they are the woman’s infant, said Officer Ryan Railsback, a spokesman for the Riverside Police Department. Burying human remains, he said, is illegal. It is unclear if the woman will face any charges, but police are investigating the incident.

“You can’t bury human remains unless you have some type of license,” he said. “You can’t just bury it on your own.”

Police began investigating the case after workers from the Department of Child Protective Services talked to the woman and her husband at a hospital on Wednesday, he said.

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The couple had taken their small child to the hospital for treatment, Railsback said. When hospital staff learned the couple was homeless, they contacted Child Protective Services.

The woman told workers she had had a baby who was either a stillborn or died shortly after birth, he said.

The couple did not know what to do with the infant’s remains, so they buried them in McLean-Anza Narrows park, according to Railsback. The park rests on the banks of the Santa Ana River and is often the site of homeless encampments, he said.

Child Protective Services notified police detectives, who talked to the woman. She directed detectives to an area where she believed the infant was buried.

Then on Thursday, detectives dug up the ground for two to three hours, but didn’t find the infant and briefly stopped searching.

Later that night, coroner’s investigators and detectives found the remains.

veronica.rocha@latimes.com

For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.

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