A dead baby, believed to have been burned, was reportedly found abandoned in a homeless encampment in Arizona.

Phoenix police made the shocking discovery after a caller reported a possibly injured child around 1 a.m. Saturday in the roadway near 11th Avenue and Madison Street in Phoenix, Associated Press reported.

The officers arrived at the scene to find the dead baby abandoned in the middle of the street in an area known as "The Zone," which is the largest homeless encampment in Phoenix.

It is believed the baby had an estimated gestational age of 20 to 24 weeks, the officials said, according to the New York Post.

A resident in the area called the discovery "utterly horrific," and said people initially thought the baby was a "doll."

"I heard the helicopter. It sounded so close, like it was going to land on our roof," Joel Coplin told KPNX-TV, while recalling the events that led to officers discovering the baby.

"It's utterly horrific," Coplin added. "They thought it was a doll at first, but it wasn't."

After Coplin saw the cops in the area, he spoke to a neighbor, who reportedly said he saw someone lighting something on fire and intervened with his fiance. He said the unidentified neighbor then called 911 when he saw what appeared to be a baby.

The neighbor "[told me] his fiance came and was trying to put the fire out, and then he went to stomp on it to put it out and realized it was a baby in there," Coplin told the outlet. "He saw the head, a perfectly shaped head, and little arms, hands, legs, chest."

"He grabbed his fiance and turned away so she wouldn't see it, and he was freaked out. He called 911," he went on to say.

Although the discovery of the baby was tragic, Coplin said it was not surprising that something like this happened in the area.

"Anything can happen around here," he added. "We're right down here in 'The Zone,' and anything and everything does happen."

The Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office will carry out an examination and determine the exact cause of death as the police carry out an investigation.

Representational image (premature baby)
Representational image (Source: Pixabay / SeppH)