Police seek information on newborn girl found dead in waters off Florida coast

Palm Beach County officials are seeking the public’s help in identifying a newborn girl whose body was found floating of the Florida coast Friday afternoon.

The naked infant was found about 100 feet off the coast near the Boynton Beach Inlet, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Capt. Steven Strivelli, who heads the agency's Special Victims Unit, said Monday during a news conference.

"The infant is estimated to have been less than 2 weeks old, at most," Strivelli said.

Strivelli declined to speculate on how long the child had been in the water, telling reporters that, at this time, that’s all it would be -- speculation. It had also not been determined as of Monday if the baby was still alive when she was put in the water.

Autopsy results on the tiny body are pending.

The captain talked briefly about the toll an investigation of this nature has on those involved.

“It’s gut-wrenching,” Strivelli said. “We hate seeing it. We really desperately want to get to the bottom of what happened.”

Credit: Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office

Reporters asked Strivelli about identifying marks on the child, of which there were none. They also asked about signs of abuse.

“Can’t discuss,” Strivelli said.

The Sheriff’s Office released an artist’s rendering of what the child might have looked like at birth. Investigators also released a helicopter’s view of the location where the infant’s body was recovered.

It was not clear what race or nationality the child was.

“We have actually tried our best to identify the nationality of the child, but we cannot rule out any one nationality that the child may be,” Strivelli said. “At appearance, (she) looks maybe mixed, but we can’t confirm that. We can’t confirm or deny that (she’s) a white child with dark skin, or Hispanic, black or white.”

The captain said that investigators are still trying to determine how and where the infant ended up in the water. She could have been placed in the water from a marine vessel or by someone who ventured into the water.

She also could have been discarded from a bridge or the shoreline or she could have fallen from a boat bringing undocumented immigrants to Florida from Cuba or Haiti.

“We have some thoughts, but we can’t release,” Strivelli said. “We don’t know all the details yet. We’re still waiting for some information to come back from the medical examiner, and that will really aid us in our investigation.”

Watch the entire news conference from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office below.

The captain confirmed that an off-duty Boynton Beach firefighter fishing with friends made the gruesome discovery Friday afternoon. The Associated Press, which identified the firefighter as Chris Lemieux, said the trio of fishermen initially thought it was a doll floating in the water.

Strivelli told reporters that investigators are working around the clock to develop leads and solve the case.

“We are asking that anyone in the public who has any information about this case or what might have happened, about the parents or who they might be, to please contact lead detective Cliff Hamilton at (561) 688-4155 or HamiltonC@pbso.org.

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