Baby Elsa, a newborn dumped in a shopping bag, has been put in foster care, with her mother still not coming forward

26 January 2024, 11:52

Police and Community Support Officers at the junction of the Greenway and High Street South in Newham, east London, where a newborn baby was found in a shopping bag by a dog walker.
Police and Community Support Officers at the junction of the Greenway and High Street South in Newham, east London, where a newborn baby was found in a shopping bag by a dog walker. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

A baby who was found in a shopping bag on a freezing east London street has been put into foster care, with her mother still yet to come forward.

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Elsa was discovered crying by a dog walker, who found her wrapped in a blanket at the junction of Greenway and High Street South, Newham, shortly after 9pm last Thursday.

The passer-by kept Elsa warm until paramedics arrived to check her and take her to hospital. She was just an hour old when she was found, and still had her umbilical cord attached.

The little girl, who is black or mixed race, has no injuries and is "safe and well". She was born after a full term, and weighed 6lbs 6oz (2.9kg) when she was discovered.

East London family court said this week that Elsa's parents had still not come forward.

Judge Carol Atkinson said Elsa had been discharged on Tuesday to foster parents who had visited her in hospital, in an interim move while more information is collected about her identity.

The junction of the Greenway and High Street South in Newham, east London, where a newborn baby was found in a shopping bag by a dog walker.
The junction of the Greenway and High Street South in Newham, east London, where a newborn baby was found in a shopping bag by a dog walker. Picture: Alamy

The court-appointed guardian also applied to change her name from Elsa, which is thought to be a reference to the Disney film Frozen, claiming that it might be thought of as "gimmicky", the BBC reported.

The guardian's barrister explained that the name could upset Elsa when she is older.

But the judge refused the order, saying that the name might be "something they can hang on to" later. The next family court hearing will be in a few weeks' time.

Read more: Newborn baby found inside shopping bag on freezing east London street

Read more: Bronson Battersby's sister ‘does not blame social services’ after two-year-old boy found starved to death

Chief Superintendent Simon Crick said last week: "We believe Elsa to have been less than an hour old when she was found. We do not yet know how long she had been there."

He told reporters the name "could have" been inspired by the hit animated film Frozen.

He added :"We just want to make sure mum's ok and there's lots of support waiting for her when she comes forward," Ch Sup Crick said.

"We don't know where mum is, she just need to make sure mum's ok following birth."

He added: "Last night we were called by a member of the public out walking their dog, who had discovered a newborn baby in a shopping bag at the junction of Greenway and High Street South, E6.

"Thinking fast, that person kept the baby girl warm until London Ambulance Service paramedics arrived and checked her over before taking her to hospital. I am delighted to report that she wasn’t injured in any way and is safe and well in the care of hospital staff.

"I am grateful to the members of the public who stayed at the scene to speak with officers and medics – your actions contributed to saving the baby’s life.

"Our thoughts now turn to the baby mother; we are extremely concerned for her welfare as she will have been through a traumatic ordeal and will be in need of immediate medical attention following the birth.

"Trained medics and specialist officers are ready to support her and we urge her to get in touch by phone or walk in to the nearest hospital or police station.

"If you are the baby’s mother please know that your daughter is well, no matter what your circumstances please do seek help by dialling 999.”

Anyone who believes they may know who the child's mother is can call 999 ref CAD 6876/18 Jan.

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