STOCKTON -- The Stockton Police Department is investigating after a newborn baby was found in a Stockton dumpster.
Troy Cooper lives in Stockton’s Winslow Village Apartments on Village Green Drive, where he found the baby boy wrapped in plastic inside the dumpster around 11:43 a.m.
“How could anybody do this? It was just unbelievable,” he said.
Startled, he called his apartment manager, John Pedebone, for help. Pedebone said he picked up the baby boy, who was still breathing and alive. The umbilical cord was still attached.
“Instinct as a dad, I just need to try to do anything that I could to try help out the baby,” Pedebone told FOX40. “So, before the ambulance gets here, I just make sure that he’s breathing and warm.”
Stockton Police Officer Joe Silva said the baby was taken to a hospital where he is recovering. He is now in the care of Child Protective Services.
Silva added as officers conducted their investigation, they found the boy’s 15-year-old mother. She was also taken to the hospital.
The teenager will be cited for felony child abuse and endangerment and released to her parents, according to the police department.
Apartment managers said they spotted the girl walking into the complex Tuesday morning, sometime before the discovery of her baby. They didn't recognize her as one of their renters.
"We're still trying to figure out exactly her connection to that apartment complex," Silva said.
No one answered at the unit where the mother was found and no one living nearby was able to tell FOX40 who lived there.
Officer Silva said if it weren’t for Pedebone and Cooper, the baby may not have made it, especially on a day that reached triple-digit temperatures.
“We had several good Samaritans who we are calling heroes,” he said.
“I wouldn't call me a hero. It was just a parent helping a child,” Cooper said.
If anyone aided and abetted the dumping of the baby, Silva said they will face charges.
The Stockton Police Department will be referring the case to the district attorney’s office.
There is a fire station .4 miles away from where the baby boy was abandoned.
Since being implemented in 2001, 949 infants have been legally given up through California's Safely Surrendered Baby Law. The latest state statistics available are from 2017.
Thirty-nine mothers have reclaimed their infants since 2001. Between 2001 and 2017, 177 babies have been left in other places and of those, 103 have died.
Mothers in crisis have 72 hours after birth to make the decision to surrender and 14 days after that to change their minds.
To find out more about how to safely surrender, including approved locations near you, just call 1-877-222-9723.
Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call Stockton Police at 209-937-8377.
Stay with FOX40 for updates on this story.