The newborn boy who was found crying inside of a sealed black suitcase didn’t have a name, so Arlington officers gave him one: Jason.
The unofficial name came from an officer who has been considering adopting a little girl and was moved by the abandoned infant, according to Detective Morgan Spear of the Crimes Against Children Unit. Out of ease, officers working the case have been referring to the boy — who has been recovering in Medical City Arlington, where he’s in stable condition — as baby Jason. And the name has stuck.
It’s been three days since a neighbor found the crying baby boy in the case outside of an apartment complex trash compactor, and on Tuesday police offered a clearer picture of what happened. The baby, whom police previously had said was inside of a container, was actually inside of a suitcase, swaddled in a cheetah-print blanket, Spear said. He was all of about two hours old.
The placenta and umbilical cord were still attached to the boy, Spear said, and there was blood inside the suitcase. Doctors determined he had been born about four to six weeks premature. He weighed 4 pounds, 2 ounces.
Officers within the Arlington Police Department, which has been working with the Tarrant County Alliance For Children in its investigation, have been affected by the miraculous recovery of the infant, who could have easily died, Spear said.
It’s amazing, she said, that the neighbor heard the crying and looked inside the suitcase, and that the baby only had some oxygen problems, with no visible injuries.
It’s also a miracle the worker who was supposed to collect garbage — who typically takes any items near the dumpster and throws them in — was late that day, she said.
“This baby was very blessed,” Spear said on Tuesday afternoon during a press conference on the recovery of the baby boy. “Everybody’s just happy that he’s alive today.”
Arlington police are applauding the efforts of the neighbor and of responding officers, as well as making a plea to the community to help them locate the mother who left the baby behind and hasn’t yet been identified.
The incident, police said, also highlights the importance of Texas’ Baby Moses Law, which says parents can surrender a child under 60 days old at a hospital, fire station, free-standing emergency center or EMS station with no questions asked. They can remain anonymous, the law says, and police won’t get involved.
“You can tell that person there at the clinic or the fire station that you want to leave your baby with Safe Haven,” Spear said. “And at that point in time it’s confidential and you can leave the baby there.”
She said officers who responded to the call around 8:15 a.m. Saturday in the 2100 block of Tan Oak Lane found an infant boy who was cold and low on oxygen. Medics performed CPR on the baby until he was transported to Medical City Arlington hospital.
Officers went by other residences in the complex, including those with pregnant women, and asked about the mother, Spear said. Police also put the word out to hospitals and emergency clinics in the area to be on the lookout for the mother coming in.
But police have found no trace of her.
Lt. Christoper Cook had said on Saturday police weren’t releasing information about the container the boy was found in because that information was only known to the suspect and police wanted to avoid a false confession. However, on Tuesday, Spear said police wanted to release more information in the hopes someone knows the mother.
Officers released pictures of the black suitcase, as well as the blanket the baby was wrapped in. They also released an image of a pink scarf that was found inside the case.
“Our main concern is that we don’t know the mother’s safety,” Spear said. “We don’t know if she’s OK. We don’t know where she’s at.”
She wouldn’t comment on potential charges for the mother since the investigation is ongoing. But she asked the public to help police identify her, for her own safety and for the well-being of the child.
Baby Jason, as he’s come to be known around the Arlington Police Department, is doing well, she said. Nurses at Medical City Arlington have said he’s still receiving oxygen, she said, but they hope to take him off of that soon.
Representatives from Child Protective Services will meet with a judge on Wednesday, when the agency will be granted custody of the child, Spear said. She couldn’t comment further on what will happen to the child.
But the department is wishing the unnamed baby the best.
“I don’t know why ‘Jason’ came up,” Spear said. “I don’t know if that’s just the name (the officer) decided he liked or what, but that’s what’s been sticking.”