Authorities: Baby's remains found at Lawrence sanitation facility
The remains of a baby, the umbilical cord still attached, were discovered in a garbage bag on the conveyor belt of a Lawrence sanitation facility Tuesday, Nassau police said.
Timothy Jaccard, the Safe Haven coordinator for the Nassau police, said he got a call from the department about 2:30 p.m. that a baby who was "not breathing" had been found at the facility, with the "cord and placenta" fully attached.
"It was an extreme shock," said Jaccard, a police medical technician. "I was very devastated. It's been about three years and 10 months since we've had a baby lost to infanticide" on Long Island, he said.
The death is being investigated as a homicide, said a Nassau police news release. The medical examiner will determine the exact cause of death for what the release called a "deceased fetus."
Nassau County police ambulances and other sites in the county have been designated as "safe havens" where mothers can anonymously drop off unwanted babies without fear of prosecution.
Jaccard said he could not disclose the baby's sex. A worker at the facility said it was a boy.
Hugh Smith, 62, of Queens, a 12-year worker at the Sanitation District 1 plant, said the baby was discovered by another worker in the recycling area of the plant about 2 p.m. He said other workers told him the worker spotted a black trash bag on a conveyor belt and opened it, as required, and found a bloody towel. Inside the towel was what appeared to be a baby boy, he said.
"The guy just burst it open and the baby was in there," said Smith, who said the worker was being interviewed by police. He said workers immediately stopped the conveyor belt and alerted authorities.
Jaccard, who is also president of the Wantagh-based AMT Children of Hope Foundation, said the organization will provide a burial at Holy Rood Cemetery in Westbury. It has arranged for 109 babies to have similar burials, he said.
"This child will have a dignified burial," he said.
The state's Safe Haven law, which allows a mother to anonymously and legally drop off a child at a hospital, fire house or other facility, passed in July 2000.
An unidentified baby, later named Thomas John Hope, was found in a bale of recycling material at the Winters Brothers facility, a garbage transfer station, in Yaphank on Jan. 4, 2010. Children of Hope arranged for his funeral.
Police said yesterday's call came in at 2:21 p.m. from the facility, Sanitary District 1 at 2 Bay Blvd.
The facility is responsible for the collection of refuse and recycling in the communities in the Five Towns, as well as Woodsburgh, and unincorporated areas of Green Acres, and Lynbrook, according to the town website.
It is one of five sanitary districts in Hempstead Town.
With Patrick Whittle
and Zachary R. Dowdy