A newborn baby found dead in a small patch of woodland could have been alive when she was rolled down a steep rock face into bushes, police have said.
Officers said today they believe the abandoned infant may be the product of rape or incest.
Baby Pearl was discovered covered in bite marks from foxes and dogs just after 7am on April 4 in a small tract of land known locally as Bluebell Forest.
The child was found just 500 yards from a housing estate in Heywood near Rochdale, Greater Manchester.
The newborn baby girl named Pearl by police was found dead two weeks ago. Today a detective chief inspector said the child could have been the product of rape or incest
A police officer brought a pink Moses basket from home to carry away the child, who police now believe may have still been alive when she was tossed down the rocky slope
Detectives named the poor child Pearl, meaning precious, because they felt it was important for her to have an identity after such a short, harsh life.
Speaking to press, Detective Chief Inspector Lewis Hughes said: ‘I can only hope [Pearl] wasn’t alive at the point she was left here. The alternative doesn’t really bear thinking about.’
‘We believe the mother may be somebody in distress,’ he added.
‘Whoever left Pearl here was someone with no emotional attachment for that baby. There was not a scrap of clothing on her.
‘She has been treated with no compassion. If it was the mother [who dumped Pearl], she could be a rape victim, or a victim of abuse or incest. It may be a mother who has concealed the birth from others.’
His team now believe the tiny tot was carried up a hill in the Roch Valley Woods then rolled down a steep rock face into bushes. Police were forced to abseil down to retrieve the newborn’s body.
A relative of the woman whose dog found the body said the woman ‘has not stopped crying since.’
‘It was an horrific sight. Something nobody should ever have to see,’ they added.
Cards, balloons, flowers and posters for God’s ‘new little angel’ form part of a shrine to the unidentified child
Pearls body was removed in a pink Moses basket by a female officer