By Peter Stevenson
THE story of a dead baby girl found at a waste disposal unit near Nicosia, moments before it could have been crushed, has sent shockwaves across Cyprus, with the authorities and public appalled that the newborn could have been thrown into a dumpster.
The girl, probably a few days old when she died, was discovered on the conveyor belt at the Koshi processing centre at 7am yesterday after being carried there by a garbage truck.
Police said the cause of death could not be determined nor its race due to decomposition.
“The baby was found on the conveyor belt while the waste was being processed,” Larnaca police spokesman Charalambos Zachariou said.
Police could not specify which truck the baby was carried in to the unit.
“She does not have any visible bruising and any injuries her body suffered was most likely from the waste disposal unit machinery and she must have died between five and seven days before she was found,” state pathologist Eleni Antoniou said.
Antoniou, who performed an examination on site, said the baby weighed around three kilos and was less than a month old according to her weight and height.
There was no umbilical cord and she must have been alive for a few days as her stomach contained traces of milk, Antoniou added.
“We cannot ascertain the cause of death because the baby’s body was at an advanced stage of decomposition and we are not sure whether she was alive when she was thrown into the garbage,” she said.
Because of the decomposition, Antoniou said, it would not be possible to establish whether the baby was born in a clinic or a hospital.
Samples were taken for further tests and police have begun searching clinics and hospitals in the Larnaca and Famagusta districts as the Koshi unit receives waste mainly from those areas.
“Our employees, who are trained to spot something unusual or dangerous in the waste, stopped the belt before it could be processed,” unit manager Nicolas Saravelakis said.
He added that it would be difficult to say which truck and when the waste containing the baby was brought in as the unit was closed over the weekend and on Monday, which was a bank holiday.
On December 2, 2012, another baby girl was found dead, wrapped in a piece of cloth underneath a tree in Aradhippou. The baby had died of hunger and exposure, police said.