Police scale down efforts at scene but search still on for mystery river birth mum and baby

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The Nightly
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An urgent search began following the discovery of a placenta and umbilical cord by a Sydney river.
An urgent search began following the discovery of a placenta and umbilical cord by a Sydney river. Credit: AAP

Police have made the difficult decision to scale back their presence in the area where a placenta and umbilical cord were found on the banks of the Cooks River at Earlwood.

Desperate searches were launched by hordes of police to locate a mother and baby after a man reported the situation on Tuesday.

The story has garnered wide-ranging media attention as the mystery surrounding the potential riverside birth however pleas for the mother and newborn baby to come forward remain unanswered.

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Authorities have been searching for the woman and baby in Sydney’s southwest but have now packed down the scene, a NSW Police spokesperson confirmed.

The woman has been urged to immediately seek care at the closest hospital, with authorities insisting she is not in trouble and there will be no judgment, amid concerns for her and the baby’s health.

NSW Police are racing against the clock to identify her, Superintendent Christine McDonald said.

“We do want to know who she is because we want to know that she is safe and receiving the support and the medical help that she needs,” Ms McDonald said.

Police divers and a blood-detection dog were involved in the large-scale search, yielding only a false alarm when a recently buried cat was discovered among the mangroves.

Expected results of forensic testing on the placenta and umbilical cord might identify the baby’s birth date and gender, but it was not clear how they got by the river or how long they had been there, Supt McDonald said.

A dog walker reported the find to police on Monday afternoon after coming across the scene, not far from a busy footbridge across the river.

The riverside site is less than 4km from Canterbury Hospital.

Police have appealed for anyone who may have seen a distressed or pregnant woman in the vicinity to contact authorities.

The Cooks River flows from Yagoona in Sydney’s outer southwest and runs into Botany Bay at Kyeemagh, 23km away.

Sections are heavily polluted as a result of traffic congestion, litter, sewage, illegal dumping and industrial and domestic activities.

- And AAP


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