Unidentified body of baby found in Newcastle is buried in Auburn

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Placer County Sheriff’s Detective Mike Davis, Chief Deputy Coroner Dennis Watt and Evidence Technician Jane Xepoleas, joined Placer County Law Enforcement chaplains, to bury an unidentified baby. Chaplain Jim Milne is shown kneeling down next to the tiny casket to say a few words.


AUBURN CA - Without a name or a known past, the body of a baby found near the roadside in Newcastle last summer  has been buried in Auburn.

The Placer County Sheriff’s Office said the Baby John Doe burial took place in a driving rainstorm Wednesday.

The body of the newborn baby boy was found in a trash bag at the side of the road by a passerby on June 21.

Although the mother or father of the baby had not been found, the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that investigators wanted to give the baby a decent burial. He was buried in the New Auburn Cemetery’s baby section with funds paid through the county’s indigent burial program.

There was no money budgeted for a grave marker. The patch of sod sits in marked contrast to the markers around in the infant section of the cemetery that show names of children and their birth and death dates. Some have pictures of cartoon animals. Some have flowers.

Baby John Doe’s name, life and death is still couched in mystery.

Detective Sgt. Jim Swearingen said cause of death is still pending as the investigation continues to search for a parent or clues through other family members, who may have noticed a pregnant mother-to-be whose child was never subsequently registered as a live birth. 

Swearingen said that no marker is planned but the Sheriff’s Office could help coordinate the placement of one through donations.

Sheriff’s employees and members of the Placer County Law Enforcement Chaplaincy took part in the ceremony.

The body’s discovery was made after a woman walking along Green Hills Court, an undeveloped subdivision, grew suspicious of a strong smell. She told a patrolling deputy she had waved down that a foul odor was coming from a pile of garbage bags several feet off the seldom-traveled roadway, near Auburn Folsom Road.

The deputy discovered the baby boy in one of a group of garbage bags.

Anyone with information that could lead investigators to the baby’s mother is urged to call the Placer County Sheriff’s Office at (530) 889-7800.

If a caller wishes to remain anonymous, the Placer County Crime Stoppers phone at (800) 923-8191 is available. All callers remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 if the information leads to an arrest.