Calgary Police Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta speaks to reporters in in Calgary on Tuesday. Police updated members of the media about an investigation after the body of an infant was found near a recycling depot on Christmas Eve. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

‘It’s a tragic situation’: Police searching for mother after body of baby found

CALGARY — A deceased baby girl may have been alive when she was abandoned in a northwest Calgary parking lot on Christmas Eve, police said.

“Early findings show the baby may have been alive when she was left first at the scene. The cause of death is undetermined but no trauma was detected,” said Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta of the Calgary Police homicide unit at a news conference Tuesday.

“There is serious concern for the well-being of the child’s mother as evidence at the scene suggests that she may be in medical distress.”

Calgary police received a call at 11:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve from a member of the public in the northwest community of Bowness. The individual found the body of the newborn in a parking lot behind a grocery store.

Schiavetta said investigators believe the body could have been placed at the scene between 3 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. They are going door-to-door canvassing area residents looking for information and attempting to obtain surveillance footage from local businesses. He said police have not received a single tip from the public.

“That’s why we’re here on Boxing Day. It is very unusual that we have not had a tip and, to be honest, it’s almost 48 hours to the hour that this child may have been left in the parking lot,” Schiavetta said.

Schiavetta said an autopsy was conducted Tuesday, but further medical tests are being done on the little girl who he described as having a light complexion with dark hair.

The death of an infant is difficult he said especially at Christmas, he added.

“I think it’s tragic for everyone involved. … The gravity of the situation certainly has a toll on the people investigating as well as the person who discovered the baby,” Schiavetta said.

At this point, he said, police don’t know whether the death is suspicious.

Schiavetta said he is hoping that someone comes forward to help solve the mystery.

“Also we have to be open to the idea that the mother is not from Calgary as well.”

Police want to check on the well-being of the mother and to find out the circumstances of the death. Schiavetta wouldn’t speculate on what charges, if any, could be laid against her.

“Investigators need to speak to her immediately to ensure that her well-being is being looked after.”

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