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Suffolk Police call in specialist team to help identify a baby girl found at a recycling centre in Needham market

Specialists in DNA analysis have been called into the help establish the identity of a baby girl found on a conveyor belt at a recycling centre.

The team will be using the latest techniques in a bid to trace the parents or relatives of the girl, found at Sackers recycling centre on Ipswich Road, Needham Market, exactly a year ago today.

Suffolk Chief Superintendent Tonya Antonis said no ‘tangible’ lines of inquiry have emerged into the death the ‘newborn’ baby, known as Baby S.

Chief Superintendent Tonya Atonis. Picture: Suffolk Police.
Chief Superintendent Tonya Atonis. Picture: Suffolk Police.

But she added that officers from Suffolk and Norfolk major investigations teams are still as determined to identify the infant and trace her parents or relatives, as they were a year ago.

“Advances in DNA analysis are happening all the time and we have now engaged forensic specialists through the national crime agency, using innovative techniques, to help us trace parents or relatives of the baby,” said Chief Supt Antonis.

“During the investigation so far, forensic searches have been carried out at the recycling centre, a dedicated team of officers have reviewed more than 11,000 hours of CCTV footage, visited more than 800 addresses and contacted more than 130 community organisations.

Sackers recycling centre, Ipswich Road, Needham Market. Picture by Mark Westley
Sackers recycling centre, Ipswich Road, Needham Market. Picture by Mark Westley

“Unfortunately we are no further on, and our appeals to the public to date have also given us no tangible leads to follow. Despite the the length of time, however, we are still as determined to establish the identity of the baby, as we were from day one.”

Officers were called shortly after 3pm on Thursday May 14, to Sackers recycling centre after the baby was discovered.

Police believed she was taken to centre within one of two waste collection vehicles that collected commercial waste, from business premises, that day, from 52 different locations.

“Though the waste recycling lorries visited premises mainly within the Ipswich area, we are still keeping an open mind about where the parent or parents might be from,” said Chief Supt Antonis.

A Home Office post-mortem examination was held on May 19, 2020. A final report remains outstanding, awaiting involvement from ‘a number of experts’.

A coroner’s inquest was opened in May and has been adjourned twice for investigations to continue.

No further details about the baby have been released by the police at this time

“The baby was found during the first lockdown and at a time when the mother may have been in contact with fewer people than normal. We are keen are to speak to anyone who may have had contact with her,” said Chief Supt Antonis.

“We are also keen to speak to anyone who may have had concerns about a female prior to the country entering lockdown at the end of March, just a short time before this baby girl was born and sadly found.

We believe someone out there will have crucial information that will lead to us being able to give this baby girl her identity.

“We appreciate how difficult it may be to come forward and speak to us but as the investigation continues, we remain determined to find out what happened.”

Anyone who is anxious about coming forward is urged to make contact anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or via their online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org

Information can also be provided by contacting Suffolk police by phone on 101 and quoting reference 37/26499/20, or via http://www.suffolk.police.uk/contact-us/existing-report-update.

“The case will remain open; there is no time limit,” said Chief Supt Antonis.

“We are keeping an open mind. At this stage, we just don’t know what happened. All lines of inquiry - we will follow up.

“That is one of the most difficult, and distressing things for the team working on the case, we just don’t know.

“It is just so tragic. There are no winners in a case like this.”

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