‘We want to devote every resource we have’: Police search for leads after dead baby found

Published: May. 14, 2023 at 9:52 PM CDT|Updated: May. 15, 2023 at 8:04 AM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Police are investigating the death of a young child who was found in the woods in the east part of Kansas City, Missouri.

Saturday evening around 7:45 p.m., KCPD found a dead baby in the woods near the intersection of E 41st Steet and Pittman Road, about a mile northeast of the Truman Sports Complex.

“This is a situation where we want to devote every resource we have,” said KCPD Spokesman Sgt. Jake Becchina.

Right now, police do not know the baby’s age, gender, or name.

“Today, on Mother’s Day, there is at least one mother who is without their baby,” Becchina said. “Those people know who they are and they have the answers that investigators need.”

Currently, KCPD is treating it as a death investigation. However, the scene was thoroughly vetted by a full squad of homicide detectives. The medical examiner has yet to determine a cause of death.

“Without somebody coming forward, it’s hard to quantify how big of a challenge it is. With grown people, there are connections that adult people make, there’s technology that they carry with them, there’s all sorts of things that can aid an investigation if they turn up dead. A small baby doesn’t have that,” said Becchina. “Right now, this baby is relying on somebody that knows something to come forward.”

Off camera, a man who lives in the area told KCTV5 that homeless people live in the woods where the baby was found. He also told us people go there to smoke marijuana.

“The biggest thing is that we know there are people in the community that know what happened here,” said Becchina. “There has to be. There is no other explanation for it.”

If you have any information about this case, KCPD asks that you call the Homicide line directly at 816-234-5034. You can also call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS if you wish to remain anonymous.

Alex Gerstner stopped by the area to lay a teddy bear near where the baby’s body was found. She collects the bears from garage sales and thrift stores, then keeps them in the back of her car.

Gerstner is gutted by how often she lays down a teddy bear where a child’s future was taken. This one is no different.

While it is unclear what led the baby’s body to the woods, she wants Kansas City to know someone valued this little life.

“I am a mom,” Gerstner said. “I wish these people had people to reach out to and more resources. I can’t imagine what would make someone want to dump off a baby in a field when there’s so many people that would take that baby and help out.”

There is help available.

If you’re in a position where you can’t take care of your baby, you can bring the child to a Safe Haven spot -- no questions asked. You can find the location nearest you by following clicking here.