Baby found dead in Mangere Bridge, Auckland: Concerns for mother

WATCH: Police media briefing

Police are hunting for the mother of a baby - possibly a newborn - found dead in a South Auckland reserve this morning.

Detective Senior Sergeant Karen Bright said at 8.30am a man walking his dog found the body of a young baby.

The baby has been removed from the scene and a post mortem will be carried out tomorrow.

Bright urges anyone who knows the mother to come forward as they believe the woman could have given birth recently and may need medical attention.

"Our priority right now is finding the baby's mother.

"We want to get her support and medical treatment.

"Our focus today is all about locating mum."

Bright would not answer other questions about the ethnicity or state the child was found in as it is too early in the investigation.

"It's really really early in the investigation."

Hunt for mother after baby found dead

A member of the public found the baby while walking through the reserve on Mona Ave in Mangere Bridge about 8.30am.

The reserve has been cordoned off and a police specialist search unit is at the scene. McDonald's wrappers lay strewn on the ground and there is smashed glass in the carpark.

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Equator Sausoo, 30, who works next door, picked flowers on his lunch break and said a prayer as he lay them down at the park.

He said he was particularly emotional as he was a father of five.

"It just shocked me so I came down to say a little prayer."

Equator Sausoo and Uaa Meti were devastated when they heard the news as they were working at the door factory next door. Photo / Sarah Harris
Equator Sausoo and Uaa Meti were devastated when they heard the news as they were working at the door factory next door. Photo / Sarah Harris

Uaa Meti works at the door factory next to the park. "It just sends chills down the spine, especially being so close to home."

A local resident, who gave his name only as Aaron, was horrified when he learned what had happened.

"That's terrible. That's f***ing disgusting. Especially a little baby. I'm sorry to hear that."

He said the neighbourhood was generally quiet, although people were known to drink and party near the reserve.

"But we haven't had anything like that happen before. That's f***ing mental."

Another resident, Nathan Dalhousie, believed the baby could have been left by someone young and desperate.

Dalhousie was horrified when he found out. Photo / Sarah Harris
Dalhousie was horrified when he found out. Photo / Sarah Harris

"It's not nice. We like to be positive but this is out of it."

He believed the baby could have come from a young woman with no money and support.

"You've got no manual when you've got a baby. There's a lot of stressed people out there.

"But who are we to judge? Who are we to say?"

Mangere MP Su'a William Sio said the discovery was "very, very sad".

"Jeepers, that's devastating. Devastating for the baby and for the mother."

He suspected the baby had been abandoned by a young mother who had no support.

"In my experience, this sort of thing is usually a result of a young mother feeling like she has no choice but to abandon the baby as she isn't confident in her ability to look after the baby and she has no support from family members or the father.

"I hope she has the courage to come forward so she doesn't have to live with it for the rest of her life."

Earlier, Mona Ave resident Victor Wardle said he had seen a fire engine in the street about 10am and firemen talking to residents.

He said people sometimes gathered in the carpark by the reserve. It was otherwise generally quiet.

Park neighbour and mother of four Melanie Kieenan thought it must be a suicide or a murder when she heard sirens this morning.

"No way did I expect it to be a baby. It's still sinking in."

Kieenan is worried about the park being dodgy, especially when a new proposed walkway connects Favona and Mangere Bridge.

"If you want to commit a crime that's the place to go.

"It's dodgy, a shady area."

She said people are always parked up at the reserve, some sleeping rough and some partying.

"You get two or three car loads. They're drinking and dancing in the street."

Melanie Kieenan says her thoughts are with the mother of a baby found dead in a reserve this morning. Photo / Sarah Harris
Melanie Kieenan says her thoughts are with the mother of a baby found dead in a reserve this morning. Photo / Sarah Harris

Kieenan hopes the mother gets the help she needs as she must be in a desperate situation.

"I feel for the mother.

"I'm not one to judge. When things get tough for people they do crazy things if they feel there's no way out. But there are always other options."

Police said they were yet to confirm details but the dead baby was possibly a newborn.

"We have serious concerns for the well-being of the baby's mother and our initial focus will be on identifying who she is," said Detective Senior Sergeant Karen Bright.

She said police needed urgent assistance.

"Anyone who wishes to speak with us can do so in confidence and we would reiterate that our main concern at this stage is the welfare of the mother," said Bright.

"We will provide another update later today once further inquiries have been carried out.

"Anyone who wishes to speak with police can call Counties Manukau Crime Squad on (09) 261 1321 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

High profile cases of babies dumped soon after birth

In 2009, a newborn baby was left at Middlemore Hospital after the 14-year-old mum tried to hide the pregnancy from her parents.

In the same year, a woman left her newborn baby in a rubbish bin after giving birth in a toilet on a Pacific Blue flight from Apia to Auckland.

Karolaine Maika was charged with child abandonment. The baby, who survived the ordeal, returned to Samoa where the woman already had another child.

The court heard Maika was ashamed of conceiving a child out of wedlock and tried to keep the baby a secret.

The body of a newborn baby girl was found in a South Auckland stream in 2011 at a property owned by champion harness racer Tony Herlihy.

And Kulukora Akau'ola, a young South Auckland woman, pleaded guilty to manslaughter after her son was found buried in a makeshift grave in the backyard of an Otahuhu house in 2011.

The court heard Akau'ola was trying to keep the birth from her parents.

Where to get help:

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youthline: 0800 376 633
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
Samaritans 0800 726 666
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

- NZ Herald

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