St Albans: Baby’s body found on Ruth Street footpath

UPDATE: Moments before the home time bell was due to ring at St Albans Primary School yesterday, a strange message blared across the school’s speakers advising children to stay indoors.

Neighbours in the homes surrounding the school looked out and saw police circling what they would later learn was the body of a newborn baby, wrapped in the blanket.

The body had been placed under a large tree, just metres from the school crossing.

“At first I thought somebody had been hit by a car at the school crossing,” said Andrew, 32, whose home overlooks the tree.  Then he noticed just how tiny the figure under the blanket was.

“I saw that it was a baby,” he said  “This is obviously the worst thing.”

Police have interviewed an 18-year-old woman who was released on Friday.  Media have been camped outside a home believed to be rented by a mother and two daughters less than a block from where the baby was found.

A neighbour said she’d never seen any signs of a baby at the home.

“They’re quiet as church mice,” she said. “I just can’t fathom what’s happened.”

Homicide detectives arrived at the scene on Ruth Street about 3pm on Thursday and were still conducting door knocks around the neighbourhood on Friday morning.

The exact circumstances surrounding the death are being investigated but police said they were not looking for any other people suspected of being involved.

The cause of death is yet to be determined and it is unknown how long the body had been on the street.

A police spokeswoman said a family member reported the death.

Neighbours said they did not hear and see anything suspicious in the St Albans house until police arrived at the residence and escorted two women away on Thursday afternoon.

One, Johanne Khan, told radio station 3AW he and other residents were shocked and at a loss to explain any of the events unfolding in the quiet street.

‘‘I can’t imagine why someone would do something like this, I have kids myself,’’ he said.

On Friday, a police spokeswoman would not comment on the age or gender of the baby, or whether the 18-year-old woman was related to the child.

An autopsy was expected to be conducted overnight.

– with Jessica Wright

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