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‘It appears that she gave birth in the restroom’: Texas police searching for woman caught on surveillance footage leaving gas station where infant girl was found dead in a toilet


Police in Texas hope just-released surveillance footage will help their monthslong investigation into a dead infant found earlier this year.

The grim discovery was made at a southwest Houston gas station on South Post Oak Road by a customer just before 4:30 a.m. on April 2.

The infant was found in a toilet in a bathroom, police said. The child was dead by the time Houston Fire Department paramedics arrived.

On Monday, the Houston Police Department posted footage they claim shows a “person of interest, believed to be the infant’s mother,” entering the Shell station and then leaving in a white Cadillac.

In the footage, which appears to be edited and skips around, the woman can be seen getting out of her car – which is parked at one of the pumps – and then walking through the front door of the filling station. The camera zooms in on her face as she enters the store. The footage then cuts to the same woman getting back in the car and driving away into the night. Finally, the video ends with three different still images of the wanted woman – taken from when she entered.

In the publicly-released version of the video, the woman is not shown exiting the inside of the store or coming out of the bathroom.

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In comments to Law&Crime, a spokesperson for the HPD said there are currently no updates on the investigation since that footage was released, and stressed that police “need the community’s help.”

On Monday, police said that the woman in the video was in the restroom for “about 15 minutes” before she left and that the baby was found roughly an hour after she had left – stressing that the incident occurred during the early morning hours on a Sunday when there was not much foot traffic inside the gas station.

“No one else went inside that bathroom, and [the newborn] was not there when she walked in before,” HPD Homicide Detective Calab Bowling said during a press conference on Monday. He said the footage and witness statements supported that understanding of events.

Police said it is unclear whether the baby was stillborn or died after birth. Paramedics, however, indicated the child had been dead well before the customer at the gas station made the sad find.

While some statements to the media and the caption on the widely shared footage appeared to suggest the woman in the video was the mother of the dead child, police are not entirely sure about that either.

“We really don’t know what the circumstances are or who she is in relation to the infant,” a public information officer told Law&Crime on Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, no criminal charges have been filed or are pending in the case, police said.

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During the press conference, Browning identified the infant as a baby girl and identified the woman as a “Hispanic female.”

The infant’s cause of death has yet to be determined and an inquiry by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Science is pending.

Police said they have finally decided to release the footage after exhausting “all other investigative techniques.”

“It appears that she gave birth in the restroom,” Browning said during the press conference. “I’d like to let her know that we just want to talk to her, we just want to find out some more information, want to be able to put in some answers to the situation. It’s tragic that it’s played out the way that it has.”

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