Premature baby boy found abandoned in zipped suitcase in Texas

The baby was only about two hours old and is said to be doing well.

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By Minyvonne Burke

A premature baby boy who was only a few hours old was found alive in a zipped suitcase next to a trash compactor, police in Texas said.

A woman who lives at the Monterra Pointe Apartments found the baby just before 8:15 a.m. Saturday, according to KXAS in Fort Worth and authorities are now searching for the newborn's mother.

Arlington police Det. Morgan Speer said at a news conference Tuesday that the woman told detectives she heard what sounded like a baby crying and saw a small black suitcase near the trash compactor. When the woman unzipped the luggage, the baby boy was inside with his umbilical cord and placenta still attached, Speer said.

The baby was taken to the hospital for treatment. Nurses said the newborn was cold when he arrived and had no "visible signs" of injuries.

Speer said hospital staff told detectives that the baby weighed 4 pounds, 12 ounces and was between four to six weeks premature. He was about two hours old when he was found and had to be placed on oxygen, but his nurses are slowly taking him off it.

"This baby was very blessed. ... Everybody's just happy that he's alive today," she told reporters.

According to Speer, a maintenance worker at the complex usually places garbage left outside in the trash compactor but on the day the baby was found, the worker was running late.

Authorities said they are still trying to locate the mother of the baby, whom police have named Jason. Speer said they want to speak with the mother to make sure she is safe.

Police and detectives canvassed the apartment complex and spoke with "almost every single resident," Speer said. Local hospital and emergency clinics were also notified and told to be on the lookout for a potential mother seeking medical care. Speer did not say if the mother could face charges.

"At this point and time, our main concern is the fact that we don't know the mother's safety. We don't know if she's OK. We don't know where she's at," Speer said. "Our other concern is that without a mother, without family we don't know the medical history of the victim, of the baby."

Authorities hope that by releasing photos of the suitcase along with the scarf found inside, someone may recognize it. The luggage is currently being examined for fingerprints and other possible evidence.

Child Protective Services met with a judge to be granted custody of the baby while he remains hospitalized. Once he is released, baby Jason will go to a foster family, according to Speer.