THE priest who found an abandoned baby outside his vicarage two years ago has made a plea for the mother to come forward, after the police announced that they had run out of leads to follow.
The Rector of St Peter’s, Bramley, in Leeds, the Revd Paul Crabb, found the newborn baby boy in 2016, after the baby was left, wrapped in a towel and in a carrier bag from Tesco, outside his vicarage (News, 2 December 2016).
The child, whose placenta was still attached, was already cold to the touch when he was found, and after he was taken to hospital he was pronounced dead.
But, despite a two-year investigation, the police have not been able to identify the mother of the boy — who has been named “Peter” on social media — or establish why he was abandoned.
A DNA profile was recovered from a shirt that the baby was also wrapped in, but it is not on the police database.
Mr Crabb said that he wanted to pass on a message to Peter’s mother: “Two years after the death of your baby, we recognise that this is not over for you — not something you can simply forget, as if it never happened.
“This baby still matters to you, and you and he matter to us, too. Please be assured that we’re always ready and waiting to help you in any way that we can, maybe just by offering a listening ear or a decent cup of tea or coffee.
“Get in touch when you’re ready.”
He also gave his phone number and email address — 07951 343636, and firstname.lastname@example.org — in the hope that the mother would get in touch.
Mr Crabb’s plea came after the police said that their inquiries were effectively over. Detective Superintendent Nicola Bryar, who led the investigation, said: “Sadly we have now explored and exhausted all the available lines of inquiry without being able to identify the mother of this baby boy.
“Our discussions with the coroner’s office will include when her son’s body can be released for a funeral.
“That is something we would like her to be able to lead the arrangements for, and to have the chance to say goodbye properly.”
Det. Supt. Bryar said that Peter’s mother was not in any trouble with the law, and that the death of the baby was not being treated as suspicious.
Owing to the ongoing police investigation, the body of the baby has not yet been given a burial. Shortly after the case was first reported in 2016, a crowdfunding website raised £2025 to pay for a headstone.