Fetus found in Whitfield County landfill - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Sheriff believes young mother suffered premature miscarriage and panicked

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WHITFIELD COUNTY, GA (WRCB) - UPDATEAs the Whitfield County Sheriff waits for results from the GBI crime lab, he says his main concern is for the health and well-being of the mother.

"Obviously it appears from all indication, and what our belief is, that it was a miscarriage, a premature miscarriage," said Sheriff Scott Chitwood.
 
Sheriff Chitwood says he wants to find the mother of the five to six month old fetus found at the Whitfield County landfill.
    
The sheriff describes a fetus inside a plastic recycling bag along with a pair of blue jeans found with blood on them. The jeans are a size 5 and the "No Boundaries" brand, which is popular with teens and young women.

"We feel like it's a young mother that may have just been scared and panicked and didn't know what to do," Sheriff Chitwood said, "And feel like we need to reach out to her, and concentrate on her well-being first and then we can deal with the other circumstances if need be."

Doctor Gary Bell, a neonatologist at Erlanger Hospital, says the pre-mature baby was found during one of the most critical times of development.

"The earliest the baby can survive is 23 weeks. We have maybe a 20-30 percent survival rate at 23 weeks, which you might consider five to six months at that point."
    
Dr. Bell says the survival rate is so low because a fetus would still have very thin skin and fused eyelids.

"Inside their body is what's critical though," said Dr. Bell, "Their lungs hadn't formed well yet. They're formed but not formed completely, not even close at five to six months or 23 weeks."
    
The sheriff's office believes the mother needs medical attention and hopes someone comes forward with more information.

"You know that somebody somewhere would know something," the Sheriff said, "Where the young lady was carrying a child, and today she's not."

The sheriff says the mother could even be from a surrounding county and put the recycling bag in a Whitfield County bin.    

Anyone with information is asked to call the Whitfield County Sheriff's Office or GBI.

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UPDATE: As recyclables come into the Whitfield County landfill, workers go through the bags of paper and plastic.

"It's common occurrence for us to sort through the plastic bags and either treat them as garbage or see if there is something else in them that might be recycled," said Norman Barashick, Executive Director of the Whitfield County landfill.

When workers opened one bag on Monday, filled with a blanket and a pair of size 5 woman's jeans, they found a fetus wrapped inside, believed to be five to six months developed.

It was believed to have been on their site since December 31st.

Every recycling container around the county is emptied weekly or sometimes every two weeks and not knowing what container the fetus came from, “It could be have been in our collection container anywhere from several days to several weeks before," said Barashick.

Barashick says if the fetus had been thrown in the garbage, they would have never known it was there, because they don't inspect trash.

"It's possible that even the person that deposited it could have mistaken our recycling container for a trash container," said Barashick.

Barashick says while landfills across the country have been in similar situations, this is the first time their facility has ever found human remains.

"It's not an un-normal occurrence; it's not an everyday occurrence. It's not anything you want to come across while you're working," said Barashick. “Hopefully this is our once-in-a-lifetime involvement and we don't have to see this again."

The GBI has taken the fetus to their crime lab.
The police are concerned for the well-being of the mother. If you have any information you're asked to call the Whitfield County Sheriff's Office.

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Previous Story: The Whitfield County Sheriff's Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are investigating the discovery of a fetus, estimated between 5-6 months developed, that was discovered at the Whitfield County Landfill on Old Dixie Highway Monday, according to a news release from the Whitfield County Sheriff's Office.


Authorities say the fetus was discovered by two employees of the landfill as they were sorting through a bag of clothing that had been found in a recycling container. The sorting of clothing is a common practice at the landfill when they are found in a recyclable container, since clothing is not recyclable.

The baby was found in a plastic bag, with a blanket and a pair of ladies (size 5) blue jeans. The fetus, which appeared to be around 5-6 months, was transported to the G.B.I. Crime Lab for further examination.

The large recyclable container contained materials from the other recyclable containers in Whitfield and Murray County.

The fetus is presumed to have already been in a recyclable container last Wednesday, December 31 when it was brought to the landfill.

Officials are concerned for the well-being of the mother of the fetus and believe she may in need of medical attention.

Anyone with information is requested to contact the Detective Division of the Sheriff's Office at 706-278-3029 or the G.B.I. at 706-624-1424.
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