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Essex County prosecutors ask public for help identifying dead newborn in 1986 cold case

The baby was found near the Village House apartments in South Orange a day after Thanksgiving in 1986.

Chris Keating

Nov 22, 2023, 6:33 PM

Updated 212 days ago


An abandoned newborn baby was found dead in South Orange in 1986. Detectives with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office are now seeking the public’s help in identifying the child’s parents as they try to solve the 37-year-old cold case.
Prosecutor's office spokesman Robert Florida says the baby was discovered the day after Thanksgiving behind the apartment complex known as Village House. This building is located at Cottage Street and South Orange Avenue, an address across the street from the South Orange Police Department.
Detectives say the baby was found in a wicker picnic basket on top of a trash can. The basket was discovered by sanitation workers. They found the baby wrapped in a towel and a table runner inside the basket. The towel had the words “Love is Happiness” with images of Raggedy Ann and Andy.
The child has been described as a white male, weighing 5 pounds with its umbilical cord still attached. Detectives have DNA from the baby but need to identify the mother or father in order to make that match.
Investigators are hopeful that one of the child’s parents will come forward or perhaps someone can offer a tip to solve the homicide. Anyone with information is urged to call the tip line at 1-877-TIPS-4EC or email HomicideTips@njecpo.org.

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