NJ cold case: Detectives seek to ID abandoned newborn found dead in wicker basket in 1986

Authorities shared this photo of the newborn that was found dead on Nov. 28, 1986. He was described as a white male, weighing 5 pounds, and was wrapped in towel and yellow table runner inside a wicker picnic basket. (Courtesy Essex County Prosecutor'

37 years ago, a newborn baby boy was found dead in South Orange, abandoned and left in a basket just a day after Thanksgiving.

Sanitation workers found the baby back on Nov. 28, 1986, on top of a trash can behind an apartment building located at 5 Cottage St. The newborn's body was wrapped in a towel and a yellow table runner and placed in a wicker picnic basket, which was left on the trash can, authorities said. All these years later, the baby's identity is still unknown. 

Now, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office is asking for the public’s help in identifying the child. 


The towel the baby was wrapped in. (Courtesy Essex County Prosecutor's Office)

The baby  weighed five pounds and still had his umbilical cord attached.

Detectives intend to use DNA evidence and genetic databases to identify the parents or relatives of the baby, but they ask the public’s assistance in solving the case. 

Investigators suspect the basket may have been bought from a local store.


The yellow table runner authorities found wrapped around the newborn. (Courtesy Essex County Prosecutor's Office)

The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office asks anyone with information to call 1-877-TIPS-4EC.