Autopsy results released for fetus found in sewer; mother urged to come forward

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's Office has released the autopsy results on a fetus that was found in a sewer Saturday.

Preliminary findings reflect it was a 268 gram male fetus with an estimated gestational age of 20 weeks. There was also no evidence of aeration in the lungs, meaning officials do not believe the fetus ever breathed. The coroner's office says these findings are consistent with a stillborn male fetus.

Spokeswoman for the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, Casey Rayborn Hicks, tells 9News they will not pursue charges in the case.

East Baton Rouge Coroner Dr. Beau Clark says they are still running tests and that the investigation into what led up to the startling discovery is still very much open.

"Things like toxicology and so forth and another big part of the investigation is certainly the scene investigation where we started from," said Clark.

Clark says more tests will give them a better picture of what caused the death of the fetus, but right now, it remains unclear if it was an abortion attempt or a miscarriage. He says someone coming forward could fill in some of those blanks. "If we had that information, we could put all that together and make a determination of the events surrounding the case," said Clark.

Charles and Clelie Carpenter serve on the board for Louisiana Right to Life and say rather than a fetus, they consider what was found over the weekend a baby. "A child was lost and it's sad," said Clelie Carpenter. "About a 20 to 22-week-old baby. This is what they found in Baton Rouge in some form or fashion."

Considered the halfway point in a pregnancy, at 20 weeks, some experts say an unborn child likely has working taste buds, measures about six inches long, and may start kicking. In Louisiana, it's still legal to abort at this point. While it's the law, the Carpenters disagree and believe even if delivered premature, many babies at this stage could survive.

"They are a baby at conception," said Charles. "They have everything they need to mature and to become a healthy human being."

While a lot of focus is on the unborn child, they are more concerned about the mother and her well being.

"For the woman, there's no doubt it's a traumatic situation," said Charles.

They are now pleading for the mother to come forward so they can help. Having made the choice to abort herself, Clelie considers the case personal regardless of the circumstances.

"I would love to meet with her and hug her and tell her everything's going to be okay," said Clelie.

A sewer cleaning crew reportedly found the fetus in a sewer in the 15000 block of Shenandoah View Court on Saturday, January 20.

The sheriff's office said the call was received at approximately 2:40 p.m. Saturday. The sheriff's office also says they will not be pursuing a criminal investigation into this case.

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