Alexis Avila is a teenager accused of dumping her newborn baby boy in a dumpster in New Mexico. The baby was rescued and treated at a hospital.
Police say the 18-year-old woman has been arrested and faces charges of attempted murder and child abuse. Investigators were able to identify Avila in part thanks to surveillance footage from a nearby retail store.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Avila Told Police She ‘Panicked’ After Giving Birth & Confessed to Tossing the Infant in the Dumpster
Avila has confessed to tossing her newborn son in the trash, according to the Hobbs Police Department.
As police explained during a press conference on January 10, Avila said she hadn’t been aware she was pregnant until the day before she gave birth. She said she sought treatment for abdominal pain on January 6, where she learned she was pregnant. She had the baby in a bathroom at her parents’ house the next day.
Avila told police she cut the umbilical cord and put the baby boy in a white trash bag, which also contained actual trash in it. She then put that bag into a larger black trash bag, police said.
“Alexis explained she panicked and didn’t know what to do or who to call after the fact. She then stated she cut the umbilical cord, wrapped the baby in a towel and placed the baby inside a trash bag before she started ‘driving around,'” KLBK-TV reported, citing an arrest warrant.
2. The Baby Was in the Dumpster for About 6 Hours
The dumpster was located behind a Rig Outfitters store, which was equipped with surveillance cameras. Store owner Joe Imbriale shared the surveillance video with police and uploaded part of it online. The video does NOT include any images of the infant.
The first video has a timestamp of 2 p.m. local time. The woman, whom police believe to be Avila, drives up to the three dumpsters in a white vehicle. She gets out of the vehicle, retrieves a black garbage bag from the backseat and tosses it into the open dumpster.
From the footage alone, it’s impossible to see what was in the bag that Avila put in the dumpster. Police say Avila admitted that it was her newborn. According to an arrest warrant cited by KLBK-TV, Avila didn’t respond when officers asked her what she thought might happen to the baby.
Due to the timestamps on the surveillance video, police know the baby was in the dumpster for nearly six hours, NBC affiliate KOB-TV reported.
3. Police Said the 3 People Who Found the Baby Were ‘Pivotal’ in Saving His Life
Additional surveillance footage, which was shared with KOB-TV and KOAT-TV, reveals that three people looking through the dumpster later that evening rescued the baby. The video does NOT include any close-up images of the infant.
Police explained during the January 10 news conference that the two men and one woman were searching through the dumpsters for any valuable items. They told police they heard crying and originally thought it was a dog. They lifted the black trash bag out of the dumpster and found the child at 7:42 p.m.
Police said the infant was wrapped in a bath towel that had dried blood on it. The baby was crying and the umbilical cord was still attached.
The surveillance footage shows the woman tending to the infant while one of the men called 911, KOB-TV reported. Police said their quick action was “pivotal” in saving the baby boy’s life.
They got in a truck and moved the vehicle closer to the street. Emergency responders arrived 8 minutes later.
The baby was treated by Hobbs EMS at the scene before being taken to Lubbock Hospital for further treatment.
Police said the infant was stable as of January 10. They did not provide further details about specific injuries or how long the baby was expected to remain in the hospital. Police said social services officials are caring for the baby.
4. Avila’s Parents Said They Weren’t Aware of Their Daughter’s Pregnancy
Avila’s parents were not aware she was pregnant, police explained during the January 10 news conference. Investigators said the vehicle spotted on the surveillance camera belonged to Avila’s mother.
Once police had that information, they went to Avila’s home. Avila was sleeping when officers arrived to question her. Police said Avila’s parents drove her to the police department, and that Avila agreed to speak to investigators after being read her Miranda rights.
Avila told officers the relationship with the baby’s father had ended in August 2021. He has not been named publicly because he is a juvenile, but Hobbs Police say they do plan to question him.
Avila was arrested but released about an hour later, police said.
During the news conference, a reporter asked whether Avila had been afraid of losing some sort of scholarship. Hobbs Police said they had no knowledge of anything like that and did not elaborate on a motive.
5. Hobbs Police Reminded the Public of Safe Haven Laws During a News Conference
Avila’s case is being handled in Lea County District Court, police said. She faces charges of attempted murder and child abuse, which are both first-degree felony charges.
New Mexico has Safe Haven laws in effect. According to the legal code, Avila could have dropped off the infant at a hospital. As long as the baby had not been abused, there would have been no questions asked:
A. A person may leave an infant with the staff of a safe haven site without being subject to criminal prosecution for abandonment or abuse if the infant was born within ninety days of being left at the safe haven site, as determined within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, and if the infant is left in a condition that would not constitute abandonment or abuse of a child pursuant to Section 30-6-1 NMSA 1978.
B. A safe haven site may ask the person leaving the infant for the name of the infant’s biological father or biological mother, the infant’s name and the infant’s medical history, but the person leaving the infant is not required to provide that information to the safe haven site.
Imbriale, the owner of Rig Outfitters, has started a GoFundMe page to benefit the baby. He wrote on the page that the goal of the campaign is “to be able to show this baby that she is cared for by our community.”
He told KOB-TV he wasn’t aware of what was going on until an officer asked about obtaining the footage from his surveillance camera. “I said ‘what is it we are looking for,’ and she goes, ‘we’re looking for somebody who dumped a black garbage bag in your dumpster.’ I turned around, I said ‘please don’t tell me it was a baby,'” Imbriale recalled to the TV station.
“I can’t sleep at night just knowing that this baby was just tossed in a dumpster like that,” Imbriale added. “I’m sorry but who does that? That is evil. I don’t have words for it.”