The infant found dead in a block of refuse in a Yaphank garbage transfer station is male and was likely carried to full term, an official responsible for the child's burial said Tuesday.
The Suffolk medical examiner's office said a pending leg bone measurement will likely be able to determine the baby's gestation period, according to Timothy Jaccard of AMT Children of Hope Foundation, which also runs a hotline for mothers in crisis. A separate exam of lung tissue to learn if the baby drew a breath or was stillborn also was not complete Tuesday.
"It's distressing to think that there could have been one phone call and the baby would be alive and we wouldn't have asked any questions," Jaccard said Tuesday.
On Monday morning, a worker at the Winter Brothers transfer station - a warehouse where refuse from around Suffolk is collected, sorted and compressed - spotted the dead child's limbs sticking from a compressed block of garbage loaded on a truck.
The child is to be buried in Holy Rood Cemetery in Westbury, where the baby boy has already been assigned a plot, Jaccard said. The timing of the burial, which will include a white coffin with brass trim, pallbearers, and an honor guard, will depend on the state of the ongoing police investigation. Jaccard said he did not anticipate it happening within the next two weeks.
A nondenominational funeral service is being planned for a church in Yaphank. The worker who found the baby will have the option to give the baby a first name, Jaccard said.
"He's upset. He's a hardworking guy, and all of a sudden you come across something you feel is precious. He's a father himself, and it's precious to him," Jaccard said.
While the origin and cause of death of the infant is unknown, the majority of abandoned babies are from young parents who are overwhelmed, fear retribution from family or others, or struggle with addiction or emotional problems, Jaccard said. Many are unaware of adoption services or other resources.
Twenty-six newborns were successfully relinquished by mothers last year under the state's Safe Haven law. The law, passed in 2000, allows mothers to leave babies less than 5 days old at hospitals, police stations and fire houses without fear of prosecution.
Suffolk detectives face a daunting task in identifying the baby or his mother.
Trucks from all over Suffolk dump a mix of commercial and residential refuse in the warehouse for sorting. Because some of the garbage comes from Dumpsters and is not sorted by pickup spot, establishing a time frame or even approximate location for the baby's origin will prove a challenge.
"The conditions the body were found in and the condition of the body itself complicate this investigation," said Det. Let. Jack Fitzpatrick.
Anyone with information about the child should contact the Homicide Squad at 631-852-6392. The AMT Children of Hope Foundation's anonymous hotline is 877-796-HOPE. All calls will remain confidential.