A woman found a dead newborn with the umbilical cord still attached in the back yard of her north Tempe home Wednesday night, police said.
The infant was found in the 300 block of East Fillmore Street at 6:50 p.m. when the woman went into her back yard to feed her dog, said Tempe police Sgt. Dan Masters.
The unidentified woman discovered the infant wrapped in a pile of towels and a bag lying next to a wall in the northeastern corner of her yard. She declined comment.
"She is obviously very distraught and upset," Masters said.
Police did not know how long the infant had been dead and were obtaining a search warrant for the back yard Wednesday night.
Police are investigating whether the baby was tossed from an alley that runs behind the house or was placed in the yard.
The neighboring home to the east was also taped off as part of the crime scene.
Bettie Monroe, who lives across the street, said the incident was sad.
"I can’t see anyone going and having a baby and throwing it into someone’s yard," Monroe said.
Mim Johnson, who lives two houses from where the baby was found, said the alley and neighborhood are usually quiet.
"It’s horrifying for someone to be in a position to have to dispose of a baby," said Johnson, who has lived in the neighborhood for 22 years.
An Arizona law that took effect August 2001 allows mothers or a designee to leave an unwanted infant anonymously at sites such as fire stations, hospitals and child welfare agencies without being prosecuted. Babies must be less than 72 hours old, unharmed and should be given directly to an authorized person such as an on-duty firefighter or hospital worker.