A newborn was rescued after being left in a dumpster in Stockton on Tuesday, and the baby's mother has been located and hospitalized, police said.
An investigation began following a report of a possible baby inside a trash bin in the 5900 block of Village Green Drive around 11:45 a.m., according to a post on the Stockton Police Department's Facebook page.
Troy Cooper, who lives in the Winslow Village Apartments on Village Green Drive, told KTLA sister station KTXL in Sacramento that he found the baby wrapped in plastic inside the dumpster at the complex.
“How could anybody do this?" Cooper asked. It’s just unbelievable.”
Cooper called his apartment manager, John Pedebone, for help.
Pedebone said his “instinct as a dad” told him to pick the baby up. He then noticed the child was breathing and still had an umbilical cord attached.
“I just tried to do anything that I could to help out the baby before the ambulance gets here,” Pedebone told the Sacramento station. “I just make sure that he’s breathing and warm.”
The baby, a boy, was transported to a local hospital and is said to be doing well. He has been placed into protective custody, according to police.
His mother -- identified only as a teenager -- was found near the scene. She was also taken to a hospital for treatment.
Police reminded parents that they can safely surrender newborns within 72 hours of birth to any firehouse or hospital emergency room in Stockton without being prosecuted, provided there are no signs the baby was abused or neglected.
Stockton Police Officer Joe Silva told KTXL the mother in Tuesday’s case could face child abuse and neglect charges, but she will be released to her parents pending further investigation.
No further details were immediately released about the incident, including the age of the baby and how long he was inside the dumpster before being found.
Silva said police “had several good Samaritans who we are calling heroes.”
But Cooper said he disagrees with that label.
“I wouldn't call me a hero,” he said. “It was just a parent helping a child.”
Anyone with information is urged to call Stockton police at 209-937-8377 or the department's Investigations Unit at 209-937-8323. Anonymous tips can also be submitted through the local Crime Stoppers by dialing 209-946-0600.