27-year-old Austin mother arrested after leaving baby to die in dumpster

Austin Police Detective Lee Knouse says it was a man dumpster-diving at the Mira Vista Apartments on Middle Fiskville Road who heard the cries of a newborn baby girl on the cold morning of October 25th.

"He immediately called 911. He asked for assistance from other people in the complex just to find out the name of the complex and what not and that's when the fire department and EMS arrived," Knouse said.

Shortly after the incident FOX 7 spoke with Teresa Reese. "I saw the baby's bottom, I saw legs and I saw feet, and I literally...I lost it," Reese said.

According to newly released police paperwork, Austin-Travis County EMS described the child as blue-grey in color with the placenta still attached.

The baby had a low pulse rate so they had to do chest compressions and ventilate.

Austin Police investigators spotted blood outside the dumpster, blood on the sidewalk and blood outside of an apartment door. So officers performed a welfare check on the residence.

"There was some further blood and some cleaning supplies in the bathroom," Knouse said.

27-year-old Althea Johnson denied she had even given birth. During questioning days later, she told investigators the baby was hers but she had just put the child in the bushes.

Earlier this week Johnson admitted to police she did put her newborn child in the dumpster. Police say, despite having a cell phone, Johnson never called 911 or anyone else. "The baby has been released from Dell Children's Medical Center and at this point appears to be ok," Knouse said.

Detective Knouse says the baby is with family. Johnson was arrested on Tuesday.

"I really feel like the baby kind of had a guardian angel. Or whatever the case. Just by happen-stance that gentleman wasn't looking for a baby in a dumpster, he didn't hear a cry before he went into that dumpster, he just happened to be there and heard it," Knouse said.

Austin Police took the opportunity this morning to remind everyone: parents should never ever resort to this. There is a "safe haven law" or "Baby Moses" law in Texas. If you drop an infant off at a fire station, EMS station or hospital, you won't face criminal prosecution and the child gets care.

Otherwise, you'll end up in jail. Johnson is in the Travis County Jail. Her bail is $60,000.

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