Oregon: One-Day-Old Baby Found With Homeless, Mentally Ill Mother, Froze To Death During Portland Cold Wave

Rahul Srinivas

In a tragic incident, a 1-day-old baby from Portland, Oregon reportedly froze to death as freezing temperatures caused by an intense cold wave swept through the region. According to The Willamette Week, the baby was only a few hours old when the child was found with a homeless woman on January 9. The report added that the mother and the baby were first spotted near a bus stop along Southeast Powell Boulevard. There is still debate on the cause of death of the baby, with some people arguing that the child could have been stillborn and that the death was not directly weather-related.

According to local media outlets, the woman and her baby were first spotted by a man who was on his way to work. He reportedly found the barefoot and partly clothed woman near a TriMet bus stop. She was pushing a shopping cart, and when she saw the man, she opened her coat and showed him her baby. Alarmed, the man asked the woman to cover herself and the baby up and immediately called 911. A team of first responders reached the spot within a few minutes. A local publication managed to access text messages exchanged between the first responders which indicated that the child was born “a few hours ago” in a transient camp. The text messages also revealed that the baby was alive at the time of birth and when they initially found him.

“Baby is conscious and breathing okay, but has been outside this entire time.”

Another message said the following.

“Baby is ice cold.”

This eventually led them to consider the possibility that the baby froze to death after being exposed to the cold weather. The baby was quickly taken in an ambulance to the Oregon Health & Science University hospital where doctors made several attempts to revive the child.

In the meantime, officers also interviewed the baby’s mother, a woman whose identity has not been revealed. The woman is estimated to be around 34-years-old and was found to have mental health issues. When asked about the baby and its father, the woman said she had gotten pregnant “by the miracle of immaculate conception.” She was not able to answer basic questions about her address, ethnicity or other details. A police officer investigating the incident wrote in his report;

“It was very clear to me she was very mentally ill.”

Meanwhile, at the hospital, doctors continued their efforts to revive the child and emergency CPR was performed for more than 25 minutes. However, they were unable to revive the baby and 30 minutes later, the team decided to cease the life-saving efforts. The baby was pronounced dead at 6:41 a.m. on January 9.

After the death of the baby, officers attempted to investigate the incident and were immediately faced with a discrepancy. A report from the Oregon State Medical Examiner said that the baby was stillborn. To make things more complex, two pediatric surgeons who were part of the group that attempted to revive the baby claimed that the baby was not stillborn. Nevertheless, it was left for an autopsy to decide the cause of death. Eventually, the state medical examiner who performed the autopsy came to the conclusion that the baby was indeed stillborn.

Tom Chappelle, an investigator for the medical examiner’s office, confirmed the news on Monday

“After an autopsy, we determined that the baby was stillborn.”

Since the official report now said that the baby was stillborn, police officers were not required to investigate the incident. In case the baby had died of exposure and other causes, they would have continued investigations. Owing to the confusion over the cause of death, there was considerable delay in the announcement of the cause of death.

[Featured Image by Pixabay]