STOCKTON, Calif. — Police are investigating after a newborn baby was found in a Stockton dumpster Tuesday as Northern California baked for a third straight day in dangerously high heat.
Troy Cooper lives in Stockton’s Winslow Village Apartments on Village Green Drive, where he found the baby boy wrapped in plastic inside the dumpster about 11:43 a.m.
“How could anybody do this? It was just unbelievable,” he told KTXL.
Startled, he called his apartment manager, John Pedebone, for help. Pedebone said he picked up the baby boy, who was still breathing and alive. The umbilical cord was still attached.
“I just need to try to do anything that I could to try help out the baby,” Pedebone told KTXL, crediting his instinct as a father. “So, before the ambulance gets here, I just make sure that he’s breathing and warm.”
Stockton Police Officer Joe Silva said the baby was taken to a hospital where he is recovering. He is now in the care of Child Protective Services.
Officers found the boy’s 15-year-old mother during the investigation, Silva said. She was also taken to the hospital. The teenager will be cited for felony child abuse and endangerment and released to her parents, according to the police department.
Officer Silva said if it weren’t for Pedebone and Cooper, the baby may not have made it, especially on a day that reached triple-digit temperatures.
“We had several good Samaritans who we are calling heroes,” he said.
“I wouldn't call me a hero. It was just a parent helping a child,” Cooper said.
If anyone aided and abetted the dumping of the baby, Silva said they will face charges.
The Stockton Police Department will be referring the case to the district attorney’s office.