Workers for a laundry service in Red Wing found the body of a baby on Tuesday morning after it tumbled out of a bed sheet that came from a St. Paul hospital, police said.
Red Wing police were called to Crothall Laundry just before 12:30 p.m., but the body had already been picked up by someone from the hospital and returned to St. Paul, Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman said Tuesday night.
Because the infant’s body was removed before his officers arrived, Pohlman said he couldn’t confirm the race or gender. He did say that officers were shown a photo of the body and that they interviewed witnesses at the service, which washes hospital linens.
“What we have is that when they were preparing the laundry, a baby had fallen out of a sheet, and that they had called the hospital where the laundry had come from, and that they immediately sent people down to pick it up,” Pohlman said. “It was after this had taken place that we received a call.”
That load of linen had been delivered within the previous 48 hours to the laundry, which does a lot of laundry from medical clients, he said. Pohlman declined to name the hospital.
A spokeswoman for Crothall Laundry wouldn’t comment Tuesday night, saying company officials likely will issue a statement Wednesday.
Pohlman said his detectives contacted St. Paul police to open a joint investigation. He said his agency is calling it a “death investigation,” though the information police have received so far is in second-hand reports from witnesses.
The case has also been referred to the Ramsey County medical examiner.
Pohlman said he’s received no information that the parents of the dead infant had been notified. He called it a sad situation.
“It’s tough; that’s why we’re trying to do a thorough job and be careful that we don’t try to speculate,” he said.
“Right now, there’s just so many unanswered questions, and we want to respect the hospital’s and family’s rights. Somebody should know where this came from. Until we can get it all pieced together, I want to make sure that we respect everyone involved.”
Staff writer Mary Lynn Smith contributed to this report.