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Dead newborn found in trash

JOHN A. BAYLESS, Sierra Sun

Authorities are looking for answers after a worker at the Eastern Regional Transfer Station discovered the lifeless body of a newborn girl while sorting through garbage for recyclables Monday morning.

Manager Ron Ratto of Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal Co. said the baby was discovered during the routine sorting and separating process, which included tons of rubbish brought to the facility from a wide area.

“All residential garbage and some commercial garbage which comes from Colfax, Tahoe City, Kings Beach, Truckee and a small portion of Stateline comes into the landfill, is dumped on a conveyor belt and sorted there,” Ratto said. “All the recyclables are picked out and the infant was found in there.”

The worker who found the tiny corpse alerted management, who shut down the conveyor belt and called the Placer County Sheriff’s Office immediately.

Workers sent home

Most workers were sent home while the 30,000-square foot building was closed for the crime scene investigation. Officers finished sorting through the garbage around 9 p.m. Monday, Ratto said.

According to Sgt. Bill Langton of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, the infant was a newborn female.

“The infant appears to be white or Hispanic, is female, and newborn,” Langton said. He said the trash in which the infant’s body was found appeared to have come from the Squaw Valley area.

An autopsy was conducted Tuesday, but Langton said a cause of death was not immediately apparent.

“A definitive cause of death was not immediately determined, and further toxicology and tissue testing is pending,” Langton said. “The infant appears to have died within 72 hours prior to discovery.”

Placer County Law Enforcement chaplains traveled to the landfill Tuesday to counsel workers from facility who were on duty when the infant’s body was discovered.

Workers have informally adopted the baby girl, whom they call “Guadalupe,” and are giving her dignity in death by conducting a public memorial service Tuesday, Nov. 24, at 5:30 p.m. The service will be conducted at Assumption Catholic Church, and Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal Co. is handling burial expenses.

Langton said authorities are still searching for any clues to the identity and origin of the infant, and anyone with information should contact the lead investigator in the case, Det. Lori Ziegler, at (530) 581-6324.

“Often these types of cases are solved through a cooperative effort of the media, law enforcement and the community,” he said.

The Eastern Regional Transfer Station is located at the site of the former Eastern Regional Landfill, a few miles south of Truckee on Cabin Creek Road off Highway 89. The landfill itself was closed and sealed three years ago.

Workers at the transfer station sort through incoming garbage for recyclable items, and the remainder of the garbage is sent to Lockwood Landfill in Nevada.

Sierra Sun E-mail: sun@tahoe.com

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