Police in Jackson, Tennessee, are investigating after an infant was found in a dumpster in the early morning hours of January 19.
According to a Facebook post by the city’s police department, the baby was found around 3:30 a.m. inside a dumpster at 33 Carter Street after a 911 call alerted them to the situation. The child was rushed to the hospital, where he is currently receiving care.
“I can’t imagine feeling so desperate, that you feel this is your only option. I’m so thankful to the person that called 9-1-1 and to JPD for their swift actions in saving this baby’s life,” said Jackson Mayor Matt Conger in a Facebook post.
In a press conference on Friday, Police Chief Thom Corley thanked all the first responders involved in the child’s rescue.
“I’m absolutely convinced that if it were not for the joint efforts of these first responders and medical personnel, this newborn baby in this case would not have survived,” he said. “I’d like to publicly thank the community for the outpouring of thoughts and prayers for the child involved in this case, and I personally want to request those prayers continue. He’s got a long road ahead.”
Corley also noted that the infant’s mother was found and was being treated for medical issues. An investigation into the abandonment is underway.
Every state has a safe haven law meant to deter parents in crisis situations from abandoning their newborns, as happened here. Tennessee allows mothers to surrender their infants within the first two weeks after birth, without fear of prosecution, at fire stations, police stations, or hospitals.
The city will also soon be home to a Safe Haven Baby Box. With “boxes” throughout the country, the Safe Haven Baby Box organization provides temperature-controlled boxes in safe-haven spots so that parents can surrender a child anonymously. According to a Facebook post by Mayor Conger, the city council approved a contract with the organization several months ago, and an order was placed for a new baby box just last week.
“While this option wasn’t in time for this newborn, hopefully it will prevent someone else from feeling that discarding their child is the only option,” he wrote.