The remains of a human fetus were found in a shallow grave in a Texas park, according to police.
Brenham police were alerted after witnesses claimed to have seen a man and a woman, believed to be teenagers, with a shovel walking out of the woods at Hohlt Park at about 4:45 p.m. on Sunday.
When officers arrived, they searched the area around 2425 North Park St. and found the body inside a shallow grave, according to ABC13.
KBTX reported that detectives and crime scene investigators were later called to the area and that evidence was collected and processed.
The fetus was later transported to the Fort Ben County Medical Examiners’ office where an autopsy will be carried out.
Police have since started a process of interviewing witnesses as the investigation into the death of the fetus continues.
Darrylidrea Roper, who lives opposite the park, told ABC13 that a police officer asked her and her sister to determine whether they had seen anyone carrying a shovel.
Roper told the network: “We’ve never seen anything like that. We saw a lot of police trucks.”
According to the National Safe Haven Alliance (NSHA), 31 babies were found placed in dumpsters, in backpacks, or discarded in other dangerous locations in 2021. It added that 22 of these infants were found deceased.
The organization added that 73 babies were saved by Safe Haven laws that year. Safe Haven laws allow a parent who is either unable or unwilling to care for their infant to relinquish an unharmed baby without fear of prosecution.
Safe Haven Laws
NSHA added: “The law gives a desperate parent a safe alternative and saves the life of a vulnerable infant.”
Safe haven laws were first introduced in Texas in 1999 and are now active in 32 states, Guam and Puerto Rico.
Seven states require parents to relinquish their infants only to a hospital, emergency provider, or health-care facility. In other states, personnel at police stations or other law enforcement may accept infants and emergency medical personnel may do so while responding to 911 calls.
Five states and Puerto Rico also allow churches to act as safe havens, but the relinquishing parent must first determine that personnel are present at the time the infant is left.
According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway: “Once the safe haven provider has notified the local child welfare department that an infant has been relinquished, the department assumes custody of the infant as an abandoned child.”
Newsweek has contacted the Brenham Police Department for comment.