Police appeal for baby Elsa’s missing mother – after newborn girl was found dumped in street in shopping bag amid minus 4C freeze
Police have appealed for baby Elsa’s missing mother after the newborn girl was abandoned in a shopping bag at a London crossroads in sub-zero temperatures last week.
Elsa was found at 9.13pm on the evening of January 18 by a dog walker who came across the then hour-old baby at the junction of Greenway and High Street South in Newham, East London.
The identity of the mother of Elsa, who was named after the Frozen character by hospital staff after she managed to survive temperatures of -4C, is not yet known, and authorities have appealed for her to come forward come.
This afternoon, the Metropolitan Police released the description of a woman they would like to locate and a witness who may have seen her in the area.
They said the woman was ‘black, wearing a large dark coat with a light colored scarf or hood around her neck and had a rucksack on her back’.
A dog walker found baby Elsa last week at 9.13pm on a bitterly cold night. In the photo: the scene
Chief Superintendent Simon Crick (pictured) said the Met wanted to speak to Elsa’s mother
They believe this woman, possibly baby Elsa’s mother, entered The Greenway from High Street South and left the Greenway in the direction of Fabian Street, they said.
As for the witness, they are looking for a ‘male, wearing a dark colored hooded coat, carrying a rucksack’. The coat or backpack has a reflective strip on its back, they added. He left The Greenway at around 9.10pm.
Chief Superintendent Simon Crick also made a desperate appeal to baby Elsa’s mother, telling her: ‘Your daughter is safe and well, but we need to make sure you are too.’
CS Simon Crick, chief constable in Newham, said today: “A week on I would firstly like to thank the media and the public for sharing our appeal up and down the country. I know how concerned everyone is for Baby Elsa, and her mother’s welfare.
‘Since our first appeal we have had 17 reports from the public sharing information and I can assure people that each one is assessed and progressed where that information is deemed useful.
‘Baby Elsa is safe and well. I’m sure people will have seen the recent report that she has now left the hospital. Our colleagues in Newham Council are continuing to make sure she is well looked after and cared for.
‘My team continues their work. We have collected a significant amount of CCTV footage. While we are still investigating this in detail, we have identified a woman we would like to speak to, and a witness who may have seen her.
‘We believe the woman is black, was wearing a large dark coat with a light colored scarf or hood around her neck and had a rucksack on her back. We believe this woman entered The Greenway from High Street South and exited the Greenway towards Fabian Street.’
Elsa was found at the intersection of Greenway and High Street South (pictured)
He continued: ‘We are also keen to identify a witness who we think may have seen this woman in the vicinity of The Greenway. He is believed to be male, wearing a dark colored hooded coat, with a backpack; the coat or backpack has a reflective strip on its back. He left The Greenway at around 9.10pm.
‘If you have any information about these people – or you think I may be describing you – I urge you to please contact us immediately. It may turn out that you have nothing to do with it, but it’s still incredibly useful for us to know so that we can focus our efforts in other ways instead.
‘We continue to work with hospitals, social workers and local charities. All the information we have so far indicates that it is highly likely that Baby Elsa was born after a hidden pregnancy and was not a service user of these agencies.
‘I want to appeal directly to Baby Elsa’s mother again. Your daughter is safe and sound, but we need to make sure you are too. You may need urgent medical care and support, and we can help. Please call 999 and speak to us, or go to hospital.’
Crick said at a press conference last week that Elsa, who is believed to be black or mixed race, was found by a dog walker after they heard the baby crying.
Local restaurant manager Tania Iurac told how she saw a ‘clearance’ as she walked home from work after the newborn was left in a ‘really visible area’. Officers are now hoping the mother will come forward, after raising concerns for her welfare.
Ms Lurac (25) said she and her flatmate saw up to seven police officers at the scene about two hours after the baby was discovered.
‘I saw a commotion at Greenway Park. We saw a white towel on the floor surrounded by six to seven police officers.
Andreea Maria Plic (left) and Tania Iurac saw several police officers in the area where the baby was abandoned last week
‘The towel was at a red trail sign. But the baby and the plastic bag were not there.
‘I think the mother wanted the baby to be found. The towel was in a very visible area next to the main road. It was absolutely freezing last night.’
Her friend Andreaa Plic, 26, explained that she was worried about the number of officers in the area when she walked back from work at around 11pm and decided it was best to get home.
She told The Times: ‘I spoke to my friend, Tania, and I said, let’s go outside and ask what happened. So when I went outside, all I saw was the towel.’
Ms Iurac said it was ‘horrible’ to find out someone had done it, but added to the paper: ‘She might be a teenager and is scared of what has happened in her life and not ready for it, and has left it outside for someone to find it.’
Taxi driver Mohamed Ali, who lives near the footpath in Newham, said: ‘I am very surprised to hear that a woman left her baby on the footpath.
‘It was so cold (Thursday). It’s a miracle the baby didn’t die. Thank God the baby is alive.’
He added: ‘There was a lot of police activity last night around 10 o’clock. There was a helicopter in the sky above the path and lots of sirens.’
Newham Council has been contacted by the Met regarding safeguarding the child in the short term.
Anyone who may know the child’s mother is asked to call 999 ref CAD 6876/18 Jan.