STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL/CNN) - Police are investigating after a newborn with the umbilical cord still attached was found alive in a California dumpster.
Troy Cooper discovered a baby boy wrapped in plastic inside the dumpster at his Stockton, Calif., apartment complex Tuesday around 11:40 a.m.
"How could anybody do this? It was just unbelievable,” Cooper said.
Startled, he called his apartment manager, John Pedebone, for help. Pedebone says he picked up the boy, who was still breathing and alive.
"Instinct as a dad, I just need to try to do anything that I could to help out the baby before the ambulance gets here. So, I just make sure that he’s breathing and warm,” Pedebone said.
Officer Joe Silva with the Stockton Police Department says the baby was taken to a hospital, where he is recovering. He is now in the care of Child Protective Services.
Silva says if it weren’t for Pedebone and Cooper, the baby may not have made it. The temperatures that day reached triple digits.
“Today, here in our region, it is extremely hot,” Silva said. “We had several good Samaritans, who we are calling heroes.”
Cooper says he doesn’t consider himself a hero.
"I wouldn’t call me a hero. It was just a parent helping a child,” he said.
As officers conducted their investigation, they found the boy’s 15-year-old mother, who was also taken to the hospital. Authorities say the teenager will be cited for felony child abuse and endangerment and released to her parents.
The case will be referred to the district attorney’s office. If anyone aided and abetted the dumping of the baby, police say they could face charges.
California law permits newborns to be anonymously left at hospitals or fire stations within 72 hours of birth.