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Body camera footage released after baby found abandoned in Tempe parking lot

Posted at 10:04 PM, Jul 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-25 18:24:20-04

Tempe police released body camera video from the night an infant was found inside a backpack at a grocery store.

In the video taken on June 4, Food City shoppers and employees huddle around the infant.

"It was just dropped off by somebody,” an employee is heard saying on the body camera.

“Where was it found?” asked an officer.

“In a grocery cart,” replied the employee.

The body camera video is blurred to protect the identities of all those involved. The audio, however, is clear and catches the baby girl’s cries for help.

"Oh my God!” remarked an arriving officer. “It still has the umbilical cord?” asked the officer.

“Yeah, a little girl,” said a Tempe firefighter.

The investigation into how the baby was dumped in a Jonas Brothers backpack began immediately. Police started asking employees what happened.

"The backpack was in the cart?” asked the officer.

“The backpack was in the cart,” said the employee.

“OK, and then you just brought the backpack in? Did you see the baby in it before you took it inside or after?” asked the officer.

“I heard the crying in the backpack," replied the employee.

The employee said a person who was walking in the parking lot alerted him of the child.

Body camera video showed police pressed for details and tried to review store surveillance video but the cameras were not helpful.

"From there, I grab the baby, I think the guy disappears, because I didn't really pay attention, my focus was on the newborn baby,” said a store employee to Tempe police.

Investigators said the mystery man who first spotted the backpack was tracked down days later. He was not able to provide any help.

The body camera also revealed a 911 hang-up call was placed at a nearby pay phone around the same time the baby was likely dumped.

Tempe police processed it for prints, but still need help finding the baby girl’s parents.

The baby was estimated to be about 30 minutes old when she was discovered. She was taken to the hospital and was in good health weighing 7 pounds. She’s believed to be African-American. She remains in state custody.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Tempe police.

Under the law, parents can drop off unharmed babies who are under 72 hours old to the following locations:

• Fire stations (on-duty)
• EMT (on-duty)
• Any hospital
• Private child welfare agency (must have signs posted)
• Adoption agency (must have signs posted)
• Church (must have signs posted)