A newborn female was found dead inside a restroom at the Killeen Walmart Friday afternoon.
An employee found the child just before 2 p.m. Friday. Authorities learned of an infant not breathing at 1:49 p.m.
When they arrived, they found the newborn dead. Justice of the Peace Bill Cooke pronounced the infant dead at 2:13 p.m. He ordered an autopsy at the Southwest Institute of Forensic Sciences.
Police are now looking for the mother of the newborn to find out what happened. The Killeen Police Department also urged her to seek medical attention.
“Hopefully whoever had this baby will find medical help; she’ll need it,” said department spokeswoman Carroll Smith.
Smith said she could not recall a similar incident ever occurring in Killeen. Because of the ongoing nature of the investigation, she would not say whether police believed the child was born in the restroom, or if there was any evidence of foul play.
Several police officers investigated the scene well into the afternoon, drawing attention from the hundreds of shoppers who came in and out of the store, several snapping photos with their cellphones.
The store did not close while police were there. Officials from Walmart refused to comment on the incident or their practices, referring all inquiries to police.
Smith said the department kept the incident relatively unknown to patrons in order to preserve order and protect the integrity of the crime scene.
“Something like this you don’t want to draw a lot of attention to,” she said. “We don’t want to cause an uproar in the store.”
Investigators interviewed the employee who found the child. Smith would not say if the department had reviewed surveillance footage in order to determine the identity and welfare of the child’s mother.
Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to call Bell County Crime Stoppers at (254) 526-8411, go to www.bellcountycrimestoppers.com or text BELLCO and the tip to 274637. All tips are confidential and can be made anonymously.