On Jan. 7, two men and a woman were looking through a set of dumpsters behind a store in Hobbs, New Mexico, when they heard a strange sound.
Thinking it was a puppy or kitten, they searched for the source of the noise, only to find that it was coming from a black trash bag that held a newborn baby boy.
It was shortly after 7:40 p.m. when they found the infant, which had been wrapped in a dirty blanket and had an umbilical cord still attached.
The police were called and arrived around 8:00 p.m. — by then the temperature was in the 30s, according to the New York Post.
“Their collective quick response to this emergency, including notification of 911, was absolutely pivotal in saving this baby’s life,” Hobbs Police Chief August Fons said, according to KXAS-TV.
The rescuers had done their best to keep the baby boy warm until police got there, but first responders rendered more aid upon arrival.
The baby was taken to a hospital in Lubbock, Texas. Somehow, miraculously, the baby is in stable condition despite having been in the bag in the dumpster for around six hours.
After taking care of the immediate needs, the authorities turned to tracking down the culprit. A surveillance video aimed at the dumpsters had caught the entire rescue, as well as the initial abandonment.
Joe Imbriale, owner of Rig Outfitters and Home Store, recalls the conversation he had with police when they asked to see his security camera footage. He said he could tell immediately that “something wasn’t right” with the police, according to the Post.
“I said ‘what is it we are looking for?’ and she goes, ‘We’re looking for somebody who dumped a black garbage bag in your dumpster.’ I turned around, I said, ‘Please don’t tell me it was a baby,'” Imbriale recounted.
“I can’t sleep at night just knowing that this baby was just tossed in a dumpster like that. I’m sorry but who does that? That is evil. I don’t have words for it.”
Using information from the tape, police were able to identify 18-year-old Alexis Avila as the mother.
Alexis Avila has been charged with attempted murder and child abuse for abandoning the child in a Hobbs garbage.
Surveillance footage caught her pulling up in a white car and tossing a black bag into the dumpster, then driving away.https://t.co/h9WylALBwC
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) January 11, 2022
Avila allegedly told authorities that she hadn’t realized she was pregnant until Jan. 6, when she started having abdominal pain and went to the doctor. The pain continued, and the next day, she gave birth.
She said that at that point she didn’t know what to do and panicked. She drove around and then decided to place the baby in a dumpster near a shopping area.
“Alexis explained she placed the baby inside of a white plastic bag which contained some trash and placed the white bag inside the black plastic trash bag before dumping the baby,” stated the criminal complaint, which was obtained by the Hobbs News-Sun. “Alexis stated she even placed a hair tie on the black trash bag before dumping it inside the green dumpster, to keep the bag closed.
“When asking Alexis what she thought would eventually happen to the baby by placing him inside of a plastic bag and dumping him, Alexis remained silent and couldn’t answer. An indication Alexis was well aware the baby would have died as a result.”
Alexis had allegedly told no one about her pregnancy, and her parents said they didn’t know she was pregnant either.
“Alexis Avila, 18 years old, of Hobbs was interviewed and confessed to giving birth to the child at another location and then placing the baby in the dumpster,” the Hobbs Police Department posted on Facebook.
“Ms. Avila was arrested and charged with Attempt to Commit a Felony To Wit: Murder (1st degree felony) and Child Abuse. (1st degree felony).”
In the wake of this sad event, many are trying to bring more awareness to the safe haven law, which New Mexico does have and which Avila could have used to her advantage, as well as her newborn child’s.
Safe haven laws allow for parents of babies younger than a certain number of days — 90 in New Mexico — to drop off an unwanted baby at fire stations, police stations or other designated safe havens without criminal consequences.
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