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Newborn infant found dead in Victoria parking lot; police concerned for mother

Police believe the baby had been born not long before, possibly in the area.

A newborn baby was found dead Wednesday night at a strip mall in the Blanshard and Bay streets area, and Victoria police say they are concerned about the welfare of the mother.

Police and paramedics responded about 10 p.m. to the Blanshard Centre shopping plaza and found the infant on the sidewalk just outside a Subway restaurant.

Police believe the baby had been born not long before, ­possibly in the vicinity, and the mother could be in need of ­medical attention.

The Vancouver Island ­Integrated Major Crime Unit has taken over the ­investigation. No further details were ­immediately available from police.

A Subway staff member who did not want be named said a passerby found the baby in a shopping bag, and the restaurant was quickly closed down. The spot where the baby was found was cleaned by firefighters Thursday morning.

The plaza was largely behind police tape until about 10:15 a.m. Thursday.

Investigators could be seen outside the Subway and ­taking photographs around the ­property. Officers in white coveralls, masks and purple gloves were examining large garbage bins some distance away, as well as the inside of the Subway.

A group of Major Crime Unit officers was inside the Subway shortly before the police tape came down and appeared to examine the washroom area.

Victoria Police Chief Del Manak posted a Twitter message Thursday saying that it was an “extremely traumatic call” for responding officers.

“Still in the very early stages of investigation,” he said. “Many unanswered questions.”

Nick Cooknell, who lives directly across Blanshard from the plaza, said he was up and about until early morning and didn’t hear or see anything. He was shocked to learn a baby had been found. “It’s sad.”

Chris Bork, an employee at Tapestry Music in the plaza, said it was surrounded by yellow tape when he arrived at work before the regular opening time of 10 a.m.

He said he thought at first that the tape was just around Subway, “but it turns out it’s about half the strip.”

The Wendy’s restaurant across the parking lot from ­Subway was far enough away that it remained open.

The extent of the police ­activity was a surprise for Bork.

“I’ve seen police in here, but typically they’re just talking to a single business if something happened there, an altercation,” he said.

“It’s like a ghost town in here. It’s kind of wild.”

Police ask anyone with information to call the Major Crime Unit at 250-380-6211.

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