Police in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are scouring garbage dumps for the remains of a child who was apparently discarded in the trash at a Jersey City hospital.
Kalynn Moore, 26, claims that her baby died soon after birth Dec. 21, 2008 but that she was not told until several days later that Christ Hospital had misplaced the baby and had apparently thrown it out in the trash.
The hospital says the baby, whom Moore named Bashir, was delivered stillborn and was placed in the hospital morgue. When funeral workers came to claim the body Friday the hospital could not locate the body.
Police later informed Moore that her son's remains had been thrown out with the garbage.
"It was too much," Moore told WABC-TV in New York.
"I just lost my baby [and] now you all are telling me you misplaced his body," she said. "It didn't seem like it was real. It felt like a dream."
Moore's lawyer Michael Anise said Moore is "extremely distraught and wants to be reunited with her son to give him a proper service. This is a tremendous tragedy and the hospital needs to be more forthcoming."
Anise told ABCNews.com that he has asked the hospital to turn over surveillance videos to police but that it has yet to do so.
According to Anise, the baby was alive at birth and doctors and nurses "worked 20 minutes to stabilize him." Soon after, Moore was photographed with the baby wearing a small cap. She said nurses had cleaned the boy and given him to her to hold.
The hospital, however, said in a statement that the baby was a stillborn, a distinction that may ultimately be important because under New Jersey law a stillborn baby is not considered a person.
"The stillborn was delivered on Dec. 21, 2008, and placed in the hospital's morgue. The remains were unable to be located on Jan. 2, 2009 when a local funeral home came to the hospital. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, and we hope to bring this unfortunate situation to a resolution as soon as possible," said hospital spokeswoman Barbara Davey in a statement.
Anise said the hospital had yet to provide a reason why the baby had been removed from the morgue and placed in the trash.
"It doesn't stand to reason that someone would pull the baby out of the morgue and accidentally throw it into the garbage, when it still had a name tag on its ankle. All we want at this point are answers. If there was foul play and the baby is never found, it will be difficult for police to go further in terms of a criminal case against someone," Anise said.
The Hudson County prosecutor referred press inquiries to the Jersey City Police Department, which did not respond to questions.
Across the country,there have been numerous cases of the remains of infants being lost or discarded
In June, a couple in Fort Worth, Texas, sued a hospital when it was revealed that their stillborn baby had been discarded with dirty laundry and crushed.
In January 2008, police in Syracuse, N.Y., launched an investigation after a hospital worker reportedly lost the remains of a stillborn child.