Newborn baby found dead in garbage bin on University of Tampa campus, mother hospitalized: TPD

Police found a dead baby wrapped in a towel and discarded in a garbage bin near a dorm at the University of Tampa on Sunday night.

According to the Tampa Police Department, officers located a dead baby wrapped in a towel and placed in a garbage bin at around 7 p.m. near McKay Hall.  

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TPD located the child's mother, who police said is a UT student, and took her to a nearby hospital. 

"The loss of a child is always a tragedy," said Chief Lee Bercaw. "As our department actively investigates this incident, we want all expectant mothers to know there are resources available."

Video from late Sunday night showed TPD forensic teams near the dorm, a residence hall sitting in the middle of campus and housing first-year students. 


Just before midnight, students received a campus alert text message warning students of the investigation near McKay Hall, telling them to avoid the area, and assuring them there was no threat to the university community. 

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The Tampa Police Department released the following statement on the incident:

"The Tampa Police Department reminds the community that Florida has a Safe Haven Law, which allows parents to anonymously surrender an unharmed newborn infant seven days old or younger to any Fire Station, EMS station, or hospital staffed by full-time emergency medical technicians, paramedics, or firefighters. There will be no questions asked, and no charges will be filed for surrendering a newborn under the Safe Haven Law unless the infant has signs of abuse or neglect."

Nick Silverio, the founder of A Safe Haven for Newborns, said he hopes incidents like this put the spotlight on the state's Safe Haven Law and the help available for struggling new and prospective mothers.

"We provide so many services that are offered at no cost to help the moms confidentially with counseling, shelters, maternity homes, providing temporary motel stays, if that's the case," said Silverio. "Help with abuse issues with transportation services, taking to medical appointments and connecting to Medicaid, also in the partnership with the hospitals and the fire departments of placing the newborn in the arms of a staff member at a designated safe haven location. So it just absolutely breaks our heart."

A Safe Haven for Newborns can be reached at 1-877-767-2229. To reach the organization online, click here.