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Newborn Baby Found Dead Inside Duffel Bag Outside Fire Station In Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) – A newborn baby boy was found dead in a duffel bag early Saturday morning outside a fire station on the Near North Side, according to police.

A police officer told CBS 2's Jackie Kostek that around 5 a.m. a firefighter went outside and discovered the newborn boy. The officer said there was another officer and three firefighters inside the firehouse at the time of the discovery, and while this is a designated Safe Haven location, she said the fire house was not contacted or alerted when the baby was left.

The medical examiner and Area Three Detectives are investigating. A spokesperson for the medical examiner's office said an autopsy would be conducted Sunday.

"It's a tragedy that didn't have to happen," said Dawn Geras of the local nonprofit Save Abandoned Babies. "And it was so close."

Save Abandoned Babies helped advocate for the passage of the Abandoned Newborn Infant Act in Illinois more than 20 years ago.

"It allows the parent to hand over a baby to staff at a hospital, police or fire station," she said. "The reason they hand the baby over is so that maybe the baby doesn't end up frozen to death and not found."

The act allows families to relinquish infants anonymously and with legal protection from prosecution. But when the handing off to staff doesn't happen, that constitutes illegal abandonment.

Since the act was passed in 2001, more than 145 babies have been brought to Safe Haven locations. More than 85 babies have been illegally abandoned and more than half of those didn't survive.

Geras wants people understand help exists.

"That baby will be placed in a forever, loving adoptive home and for the parent that believes and trusts in the law, they can know they took safe, responsible action to preserve the health, life of their baby," she said.

An officer said they're hoping surveillance cameras will help the investigation, which is ongoing.

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