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Parents held over death of baby found at beauty spot freed on bail

The 48-year-old father and 33-year-old mother were arrested on Wednesday.

A couple arrested on suspicion of the murder of their newborn daughter, who was found dead at a beauty spot, have been released on bail.

The 48-year-old father and 33-year-old mother were held on Wednesday, almost four months after the discovery of the baby by a dog walker in woodland in Heywood, near Rochdale, on April 4.

On Thursday, a spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said the pair had been released on bail pending further inquiries.

Police have been carrying out extensive inquiries including DNA analysis to find out what happened to the baby, named Pearl by detectives.

This continues to be an incredibly heartbreaking case for everyone involved – from the detectives working painstaking hours to find those responsible to members of the public that have felt the loss of Pearl Detective Superintendent Lewis Hughes

The two suspects, who sources confirmed are the child’s parents, were arrested on suspicion of murder, concealing a birth and preventing a lawful burial.

Speaking on Wednesday, Detective Superintendent Lewis Hughes, said the investigation was continuing and urged anyone with information to come forward.

He said: “This continues to be an incredibly heartbreaking case for everyone involved – from the detectives working painstaking hours to find those responsible to members of the public that have felt the loss of Pearl.”

The baby was found in a remote area of Roch Valley Woods, which is popular with dog walkers and families, at around 7.10am on April 4.

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Police at the scene in Heywood in April (Peter Byrne/PA)

Forensic examinations determined she was born with a congenital defect that resulted in her missing two ribs, was probably newborn and likely to be Caucasian, although mixed heritage cannot be ruled out.

She was found abandoned, unclothed, with no blanket or nappy. Detectives drafted in a behavioural psychologist and made numerous public appeals for information to try to identify her.

On Wednesday police said they were searching a premises on George Street in Heywood in connection with the investigation.

A small number of industrial units, about half a mile away from where the child was found, were cordoned off by police and an old white caravan was towed away.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 0161 856 4810 or 07387 705768 quoting incident number 368 of 04/04/18.

Reports can also be made anonymously through the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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