In an alleged case of “medical infanticide,” a doctor in Kazakhstan left a baby to freeze to death in a hospital morgue even though he had noticed the baby moving.

Prosecutors said the incident came to light after investigators executed a search warrant on the doctor's phone in an unrelated bribery case. The court heard that Kuanysh Nysanbaev had ordered for the baby, thought to be stillborn, to be put in the cold storage of a hospital morgue despite noticing that the baby’s leg had moved, which was a sign of life. He left the baby to freeze “because the paperwork already classed him as dead.” They claimed the doctor and an unnamed obstetrician did not wish to correct the computer database.

Anti-corruption police chief Shyngys Kabdula, said, “After birth, the baby was negligently registered as stillborn, while in fact he was still alive. After the child gave signs of life, the doctors, instead of taking urgent measures, decided to act according to paperwork already issued saying the child was stillborn. They left the newborn to die. The baby was placed in a morgue refrigerator. He talked about the baby on the phone… The baby died in the refrigerator.”

The doctor and the obstetrician were charged with murder Friday and could face up to 20 years in prison if would guilty of the crime.

Regional health chief Manshuk Aimurzieva said, “Such a charge against doctors terrifies me.”

Deputy health minister Lyazzat Aktayeva said, “I apologize to the family, to the mother of the child.”

Investigation was ongoing.

baby feet
Representational image of baby's feet. A father stabbed his two children in Ilford, London, before stabbing himself. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images