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Death of baby found in canal now being treated as murder

A £5,000 reward is being offered for information after the infant was found in Walsall’s Wyrley and Essington Canal.

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Floral tributes left near Rough Wood country park in Walsall, where a dead newborn baby boy was found in the local canal (Richard Vernalls/PA)

Floral tributes left near Rough Wood country park in Walsall, where a dead newborn baby boy was found in the local canal (Richard Vernalls/PA)

Floral tributes left near Rough Wood country park in Walsall, where a dead newborn baby boy was found in the local canal (Richard Vernalls/PA)

A £5,000 reward is being offered for information about the suspected murder of a newborn baby whose body was found in a West Midlands canal.

The Crimestoppers charity said it was offering the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for offences linked to the baby boy’s death.

Police are still attempting to trace the mother of the infant, whose body was found on May 20, amid concerns for her welfare.

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Officers beside the Wyrley and Essington Canal appeal for information a week after the baby was found (Richard Vernalls/PA)

Officers beside the Wyrley and Essington Canal appeal for information a week after the baby was found (Richard Vernalls/PA)

PA

Officers beside the Wyrley and Essington Canal appeal for information a week after the baby was found (Richard Vernalls/PA)

Officers have previously said the full-term baby was “probably not alive” when he was put into the Wyrley and Essington Canal in Rough Wood country park, near Willenhall, Walsall, and may have been in the water for up to four days before being discovered.

A passer-by discovered the baby at around 1pm in a stretch of canal off Hunts Lane.

Mick Duthie, director of operations at Crimestoppers, said: “This is a particularly sad, tragic case and shocking for the community, so we are keen to have answers as to what happened and who was involved.

“We are urging anyone who may know something to contact our charity anonymously as soon as possible.

“There is concern also for the well-being of the baby’s mother.

“Investigators, who have asked our charity to put up this reward, believe that someone may know or suspect who the mother is.

“We hope that our reward for information given anonymously will help prompt someone’s conscience to speak up and tell us what they know.”

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A leaflet issued as part of a previous witness appeal (Richard Vernalls/PA)

A leaflet issued as part of a previous witness appeal (Richard Vernalls/PA)

PA

A leaflet issued as part of a previous witness appeal (Richard Vernalls/PA)

Mr Duthie added: “Everyone who contacts Crimestoppers stays 100% anonymous. Always. We have kept this promise for over 32 years.

“When you call our UK Contact Centre on freephone 0800 555 111, which is open 24/7, or use our simple, secure and anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org to give information, nobody will know you contacted us, only you.”

West Midlands Police said officers understood that the parents of the baby had faced a “really distressing time” and said they would be supported as detectives sought to understand what happened.

The force has liaised with the Black Country Coroner to retain the baby’s body with dignity, in case his parents are traced and wish to lay him to rest.

Detective Inspector Wes Martin said: “Pathology suggests the baby was potentially alive for several hours.

“We’re treating it as a murder investigation until we’ve spoken to the parents who can help us with our understanding.”

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