"Angel" Finds Dumpster Baby

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Monday, April 18, 2011 - 5:27pm

John VanDenBos figures he must be a guardian angel.

The 46-year-old man was looking through trash bins for pop cans at an apartment complex near his home in Oshtemo, Michigan Thursday when he discovered a newborn baby.

"I found a little angel last night," VanDenBos said.

The baby suffered mild hypothermia and was taken to a hospital but was in good health at last check, a Kalamazoo County sheriff's captain said Friday afternoon.

He said the newborn is in state custody and has been placed in a temporary foster home.

Investigators have not received any tips in the case.

They're asking for help from anyone who may have seen anyone suspicious or anything out-of-the-ordinary in the area.

VanDenBos said he had gone out for a walk Thursday evening in that area and was thinking about taking another around 7 p.m.

"And I thought, no, it's getting cold out," he recalled. "And then some higher power -- something -- just told me you need to take that walk."

The 46-year-old said he took a different route than usual on that walk, coming to a trash bin in the complex.

"I went to the dumpster and I kind of leaned over and there was a box," he said. "I had my hand on the box and when I pulled the lid on the box I saw a baby's hand."

VanDenBos said he didn't have his cell phone with him so he called to a woman nearby for help.

The woman called 911 and investigators arrived.

"I was angry that somebody would do that to a newborn baby that actually hasn't even had a chance in life yet," VanDenBos said. "There's so many things that she could have done instead of putting it in a box in a dumpster knowing that garbage pickup is early in the morning and the baby would have been discarded and no questions would have ever been asked. I was sent to that dumpster for a reason and that was to find that baby and to get it out of there before anything could happen to it."

Under Michigan law, a parent can surrender an infant 72 hours old or younger to a designated emergency service provider, including identified on-duty employees of hospitals, fire departments and police departments.

A Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety K-9 unit was at the scene Thursday night to look for clues that might lead to the identity of whoever abandoned the baby.

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