Villagers found the body of a newborn baby boy wrapped in plastic and covered with ants in a rubbish pile near the Sekong bridge in Stung Treng province on Wednesday morning.
The Hang Kho villagers were shocked when they found the body around 7.30am near their Sekong River fishing spot, Samaki Commune Police Chief Ong Sopheak said.
“According to our inspection, the dead baby is decomposing and it is swarmed with ants," Sopheak said. "The baby might have been killed before being thrown away at the waste pile located next to the bridge a few days ago.”
Chhouk Komol, chief of Stung Treng town police, said he regarded the case as “an immoral murder” and his officers were questioning hospitals and private clinics to identify any mothers who had recently given birth or had lost a baby.
“We think that it is a murder case or an illegal abortion,” he said. “The poor dead baby was buried by villagers.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, Komol said police had still not received any clues about the case.
Child Protection Unit Director James McCabe said his unit would also be investigating the abandoned newborn, but stressed that it was unclear if the child, which was found wrapped in plastic, was deceased upon birth or died afterward.
“There are multiple reasons why someone might discard a newborn," he said. "It’s still under investigation."
Additional reporting by Erin Handley