KEY POINTS

  • The baby was found when the firehouse crew went outside to shovel snow
  • It is unclear how long the baby was left out in the cold
  • Cook County medical examiner and Area 3 officials are investigating the case

The body of a deceased infant boy was found inside a duffel bag on a freezing Saturday morning outside a fire station, the Chicago Police Department said.

The baby was found by crew members at the firehouse located on North Orleans Street, in the Near North Side area of Chicago, when they stepped outside to shovel snow. They found a duffel bag covered in snow and were shocked to find the body of an infant inside. Officers were called to the area around 5 a.m., according to the Chicago Tribune.

Another officer and three other firefighters were inside the firehouse when the body was discovered. It is unclear how long the baby was left outdoors, as reported by ABC 7 Chicago.

"If the baby was placed there alive, that baby froze to death. It's Chicago. It gets cold at night. You can't leave a baby out to the elements," said Dawn Geras with the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation.

Save Abandoned Babies, a local nonprofit, has been spreading awareness about the Abandoned Newborn Infant Act in Illinois that was passed two decades ago. The law allows parents to give their newborn babies up for adoption at designated safe places. As long as the babies are unharmed and are less than 30 days old, parents can anonymously relinquish infants at the designated safe places, which include hospitals, emergency care facilities, police stations and staffed fire stations.

Despite putting efforts into spreading awareness about the Safe Haven law, Geras is disappointed to see babies losing their lives this way.

"It makes me feel like I failed. There was one other woman out there who didn't know about the law or how to use it, and because of that, there's a dead baby on the doorsteps of a firehouse,” she said. “It shouldn't happen."

"They were so close to doing the right thing. Why didn't they take that extra two steps," Geras added. "I'm speechless. I don't know what to say anymore. I want to scream and yell."

Although the Chicago firehouse is a designated Safe Haven location, a police officer told CBS 2’s Jackie Kostek that the staff was not informed about the baby that could have been easily saved.

According to the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation, 4,343 infants have been safely surrendered to Safe Havens nationally in the past 20 years.

Surrendered babies “will be placed in a forever, loving adoptive home and for the parent that believes and trusts in the law, they can know they took safe, responsible action to preserve the health, life of their baby,” Geras said.

The Cook County medical examiner and Area 3 detectives are investigating the events that led to the baby being found dead in a duffel bag.

newborn-1399155_1920 Representative image Photo: Credit: Pixabay