STOCKTON, Calif. (KCRA) -- An investigation is underway after a newborn baby was found alive in a dumpster at a California apartment complex, Stockton police said.
The baby was found by on-site manager John Pedepone and resident Troy Cooper at the apartment complex before noon Tuesday.
“So, I walked over to the dumpster and I see the bag and I looked, and I see the bag moving,” Cooper said.
Pedepone said the baby was wrapped in a plastic bag when he looked in the dumpster.
“I saw the plastic bag was moving. So, at first, I thought it was probably a dog. You know, because it was wrapped inside a plastic bag,” Pedepone said. “But the resident was telling me, ‘No, I think it’s a baby.’ So I listened, and, yeah, I could hear it, he was trying to breathe, but he’s not really crying. It’s like he’s trying to breathe. So my instinct (was) I need to get in there. So, I jumped in there and grabbed him … First thing I noticed is, it was a pretty strong baby because he was moving a lot.”
Pedepone pulled the baby out of the dumpster. Officers were also called to the scene.
The baby boy was moving and breathing when he was rushed to a hospital for treatment.
"As of now, the baby boy is doing well at the hospital and is in protective custody with child protective services," Stockton police said in an update Tuesday afternoon.
While investigating, police said they located the baby's 15-year-old mother near the scene. Investigators said the 15-year-old lives in the apartment complex and had just given birth. She was also hospitalized.
Police said the teen has been cited for one felony count of child abuse endangerment. Once she is discharged from the hospital, she will be released to her parents pending her court date.
The motive is still unknown, police said.
"It was heartbreaking," Cooper said about finding the baby.
The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for several areas in Northern California, including Stockton.
In their release, Stockton police reminded the public that people can safely surrender a newborn at a firehouse or hospital emergency room within 72 hours of birth without fear of being prosecuted, as long as the baby shows no signs of abuse or neglect.
By Hope Miller