Newborn found dead in canal ‘may have been floating for as long as four days’

A newborn baby boy who was found dead in a canal may have been in the water for up to four days, police have revealed.

The tragic discovery was made by a passer-by who spotted the tot floating in the water in a West Midlands nature reserve on Thursday.

The youngster, who is believed to be full term, was pulled from the Essington Canal but was sadly confirmed dead at the scene in Rough Wood Country Park, in Willenhall.

West Midlands Police have on Friday issued a direct appeal to the boy's mother to come forward and said she remains their "primary concern."

Detectives believe she may be in need of medical assistance and say they want to make sure she is okay, both physically and mentally.

Officers have been examining the scene and speaking to potential witnesses with anyone who has any information being urged to come forward.

The force also asked anyone who might know who the woman is – for example anyone who may have recently been pregnant, but isn't now – to get in touch.

Officers are also appealing to anyone who may have been in the area over the past few days who saw anything suspicious to make contact with police.

A forensic post mortem will take place next week to help determine the cause of deathDetective Chief Inspector Jim Munro, from Force CID, said: "This discovery is simply tragic.

"The death of this baby is absolutely heart-breaking. Our priority at this time is finding the little boy's mother.

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"We're also working with partners in health, social care and education to see if they can help us identify his mother.

"I realise how distressing this tragedy is for the local community, but please don't speculate on the circumstances of this upsetting incident, it hinders our investigation and is painful for those involved.

"We are appealing for the mom of that little boy to come forward and speak with us.

"We have grave concerns for her health and her wellbeing and that is our priority at this time.

"Likewise to any family or anyone who has concerns over somebody who has recently been pregnant.

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"We would ask for them to come forward with information which will be treated in the strictest confidence.

"Also we're directly appealing to people who use the canal, whether that be through boating or through people who walk the area on a regular basis, we believe this area is frequented by a lot of people.

"So we would ask people to cast their minds back, have they seen anything suspicious while out walking in that area?

"I would ask them to come forward to allow us to get the mom the medial support she needs and enable us to understand how that little boy has tragically died."

Chief Superintendent Andy Parsons, from Walsall Police, added: "I'm shocked and saddened about this deeply tragic discovery.

"My thoughts are with him and the wider community who I know are upset and concerned about the nature of what happened.

"We've got local officers in the area offering reassurance, please do speak to them if you have any concerns."

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