Landfill Search for Infant Suspended

December 13, 2010

By Jeff Skrzypek

GOSHEN, Ore. — The effort to find the body of an infant — allegedly murdered by his mother — is over at least for now. Investigators are now shifting their efforts from the landfill to the courtroom.

The last group that was working out here at the landfill left after searching for three straight days in the rain.

Investigators suspended the search out here, saying the likelhood of finding the body of the baby boy proved far more difficult than anticipated.

“Well, I think I’d rather look for a needle in a haystack than do what we’re doing out here,” said  John Miller from Lane County Search and Rescue.

Pile after pile, using both heavy machinery and hand rakes, the group of searchers dug through the small mountain landfill in the hopes of finding the body of an infant boy who was allegedly murdered by his mother shortly after birth and tossed into a dumpster.

“It pulls on you, it makes you think of children, and it kind of tugs on everybody’s heart,” Miller said.

Miller and the rest of the crew try to push that aside and find the baby boy and the beige sheet he might be wrapped in.

“It’s pretty much all one color, it’s kind of homogonized, it’s been cooking at about 100 to 130 degrees, in the ground,” Miller said.

But it’s because of that, the difficult task of searching through a thousand truck loads of trash, that investigators are bringing the effort to an end — at least for now.

“That doesn’t mean we won’t continue if we find a better method or a better way or we have some more specific information, which I will say is highly doubtful, but we’re not totally giving up,” said Sgt. David Lewis with Springfield Police.

Springfield Police say they will now shift their attention away from the landfill and toward the prosecution of the suspect — 23-year-old Angelica Swartout — despite not having the remains of the baby boy.

“They’re important to the case, but I think they’re more important to the family,” Lewis said. “I’m confident that we can proscute without the remains, but I really wish we could get a miracle and find them for the family.”

Springfield Police say they’re working with the landfill operators to keep the area intact where crews have already searched in the event that the search is reinstated.

Meanwhile, the suspect remains in the Lane County Jail. Her next court date could be on Thursday.

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