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Forensics show baby born in Taiwan to Singaporean couple was alive at the time they discarded her body

The Independent logo The Independent 26/3/2019 Anna Maria Romero

Taipei—The baby who was found in a garbage bin in Taiwan, was alive at the time she was dumped, according to forensic tests performed by Taiwanese authorities.

The baby was allegedly born to Singaporean parents who discarded her and went home shortly after her birth.

This was reported by local media on Monday, March 25.

But news reports say that the cause of death of the infant is still under investigation, as the forensic reports have not been released yet.

Moreover, there is a possibility of Taiwanese authorities requesting for help from their Singaporean counterparts.

The case of the discarded newborn was first brought to the attention of the public in early March, when news reports from Taiwan said that the body of an infant girl was found in the early hours of Tuesday, February 26. Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) reported that a worker found the baby’s body wrapped in a plastic bag and placed in a kitchen waste bucket. The bucket had been brought by a garbage truck to Xindian from Taipei on February 26, according to the police in Xindian.

On March 3, Taiwanese police confirmed that the DNA of the baby girl matched blood samples gathered from the hotel room in Taipei that a Singaporean couple had stayed in. However, the couple denied involvement in the case.

Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) reported that the blood samples collected by the police in the couple’s hotel bathroom matched the DNA of the discarded body, while Shin Min Daily News also reported on the evening of March 3 that DNA from an adult woman was discovered in the bag that was used for wrapping the baby’s body before it was thrown away.

The couple, a 23-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman, reportedly arrived in Taiwan on February 19 and flew out on the afternoon of the 26th, the same day the baby’s body was found by an employee of a recycling company in Xindian.

Authorities in Taiwan have been investigating whether the infant had been alive at birth, or if she had been a stillbirth, as this would determine the gravity of the crime that the Singaporean parents had committed.

Under the law in Taiwan, a mother who commits infanticide could receive a jail sentence from six months up to five years. Fathers who commit infanticide can end up in jail for life or even face the death penalty.

Forensic physicians tested the infant’s lungs by immersing them in water, in what is known as a hydrostatic test. When they floated, the expert said it was proof that she had breathed on her own after birth.

However, the test may not be one hundred percent accurate or reliable, as other causes could be responsible for organs floating in water, including gas build-up as a result of attempted resuscitation or the endeavors to resuscitate someone.

The worker who had first found the infant’s body, an employee of a recycling firm, opened the plastic bag containing the baby’s remains after the truck had made its delivery at the recycling company. He reported his discovery to the local police at once.

The police reviewed hours of footage from surveillance cameras on the street when and where the rubbish was collected and came to the conclusion that the infant was most likely disposed of in central Taipei, specifically at Ximending.

They claimed that a man had placed the remains of the baby in a black plastic bag, which he then put into a kitchen waste container at approximately 3 o’clock on Tuesday morning. People who had been interviewed in Ximending told the police that they had seen the man, and heard him speaking Mandarin in a foreign accent, added the police.

Authorities then visited a hotel in the vicinity that is popular with South East Asian tourists and was able to identify a man who looked like the male from the street camera footage, but who had already left the hotel.

The man had arrived at a hotel in Wanhua District in Taipei, accompanied by a woman. They checked out of the hotel on the afternoon of February 26. The staff from the hotel had said that the female looked pregnant when she arrived, but that she looked as though her tummy had flattened by the time she checked out.

Read related: DNA of baby found in trash in Taiwan matches samples found in hotel room of Singaporean couple   DNA of baby found in trash in Taiwan matches samples found in hotel room of Singaporean couple

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