Police do not know yet whether a dead newborn male "entombed" in a zippered tote bag and found in a Drexel Hill car trunk Monday night was dead or alive when he was born.
Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said the result of an autopsy conducted yesterday afternoon to establish the cause of death was "undetermined," pending further tests.
Chitwood said police went to the 1100 block of Drexel Avenue about 6 p.m. Monday after receiving a call from a lawyer who had been contacted by the people who found the body. Upon opening the trunk of a silver 1971 Volkswagen Beetle, police found the tote bag, which also contained bloodstained towels, clothing, and some U.S. mail, Chitwood said.
The body of the infant, which still had the umbilical cord attached and weighed between five and six pounds, was at the bottom of the bag, Chitwood said.
"To me, it's unconscionable, sad, and tragic all at the same time," Chitwood said.
He said he expected "just the fact that the body was entombed in such a fashion" to generate criminal charges, even if the baby was stillborn. He said police had not yet identified the mother but had established "a person of interest" and were pursuing the case. Police were having difficulty interviewing people who had been at the scene, Chitwood said.
Some of those people had called Media attorney Arthur T. Donato Jr. about the baby. In turn, Donato called the District Attorney's Office and then police.
Donato declined to identify his clients, but said they wanted to do the right thing once they discovered the body. He said that "it would be nice if people could be available" for interviews immediately, but that he needed time to assess their rights and ensure that they were protected.