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Dead baby found in Mirage hotel trash

Las Vegas- The body of a newborn girl who still had her umbilical cord attached was found Tuesday in the trash facility at The Mirage, and police are searching for the mother, Las Vegas police said.

“We’re leaning toward a guest,” Lt. Lew Roberts of the department’s homicide unit said Wednesday. “We have some pretty good leads.”

Police are reviewing surveillance tapes at the hotel to try to determine who might have abandoned the baby.

Hotel staff found the girl around 5 p.m. Tuesday and called police. Police said the baby, carried to full term, had dark hair. Other information, such as cause of death, was not available Wednesday.

Judging from the level of decomposition, the infant had been in the trash processing facility for at least two days, police said.

Police said it didn’t appear as if the infant had been abused. They are waiting for the Clark County coroner’s office to determine how the girl died or whether she was even born alive.

“It’s not a Baby Jane Cordova case — there were no obvious signs of trauma,” Roberts said, referring to Crystal Figueroa, the toddler who was found dead in a trash bin Jan. 12 at an apartment complex on Eastern Avenue near Sahara Avenue.

Crystal suffered blunt force trauma to her torso. The girl’s mother and her boyfriend are facing murder and child abuse charges.

The newborn found at The Mirage was discovered on a conveyor belt in the resort’s trash processing facility on the first floor, Roberts said. For her to wind up there, police said, she probably would have been dropped down a garbage chute.

Garbage chutes are located on each floor of the hotel and lead to the central processing plant, police said.

The chutes are locked and accessible only to the staff, but police believe the infant may have been wrapped in something like a blanket and placed in a wastebasket inside a hotel room. A housekeeper then may have unwittingly dumped the trash and the infant down the chute, Roberts said.

Yvette Monet, spokeswoman for MGM Mirage, said the hotel is “cooperating fully and assisting with the police investigation,” but she referred all questions to police.

Lisa Teele, supervisor of the police department’s abuse and neglect unit, said there are resources for parents who are considering abandoning their infants.

“We ask that they please drop that child off at a local hospital or fire station — no questions asked,” Teele said. “Just please place that child in a safe place so that we can provide for their safety and welfare.”

Several employees at The Mirage said they had heard about the incident but didn’t know many details.

A cashier who identified himself only as Ricardo said he saw police cars parked behind the resort about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and later heard from a porter that a baby was found dead.

“I didn’t believe it,” he said. “If they have a baby and don’t want it, they should put it up for adoption.”

Another employee, a chef who identified herself only as Lynne, said she wondered why the mother didn’t try to find the baby a home.

“I’m a mother, and I can’t imagine carrying a child that long, and then, something like this.

“There’s that saying, ‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.’ Some people take it to heart,” she said.

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