Baby found dead at racetrack
By CRAIG KAPITAN
Eagle Staff Writer
Investigators were called to Texas World Speedway south of College Station on Monday morning after a member of the facility's cleaning crew found a dead baby in a women's rest room waste barrel.
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Eagle Photo/Dave McDermand
Local law enforcement officials gather outside a rest room at Texas World Speedway where a newborn was found dead in a trash bin.
Preliminary autopsy results indicate the newborn was alive at the time of birth but later died of asphyxiation, according to Brazos County Sheriff Chris Kirk. However, it was unknown whether the child, described as a 5- to 6-pound boy, died before or after he was placed in the trash receptacle, he said.
"Potentially, we're looking at either murder or capital murder depending on the circumstances," Kirk said Monday afternoon, explaining that physical evidence found at the scene is leading investigators to believe the child was born in a nearby bathroom stall.
Investigators believe the boy was born sometime over the weekend during a three-day Central Motorcycle Roadracing Association event, which at its peak was estimated to have attracted roughly 1,000 visitors. Many spectators and race participants are believed to have come from out of state.
With no leads yet on who the mother might be, Kirk said his investigators planned to contact the motorcycle association in hopes of finding out if anyone saw anything suspicious or knew someone who might have been hiding a pregnancy
"We have plenty of [DNA] evidence, but first we have to find that person to compare it with," Kirk said. "I really think the key to this is going to be the media. Somebody knows more about what happened here, and all we need to do is facilitate a way for those people to contact us."
Sheriff's investigators arrived on the scene at about 9:15 a.m., after a member of the Speedway's three-person cleanup crew began working on the main bathroom for the racetrack's infield area.
"He actually just picked out the trash bag, and it felt heavier than what he expected," Kirk said. "He looked inside, and that's when he discovered it."
With only preliminary autopsy results available, it was difficult to say with any certainty Monday when the baby died, Kirk said, explaining that the trash bin was not emptied all weekend. However, due to the body's position in the 55-gallon barrel, investigators suspect it probably occurred during the latter half of the three-day event.
Staff at the 36-year-old speedway were in shock Monday, according to the track's general manager, Jack Turner.
"We've never had anything like this before," he said. "We're just very saddened over this. It's a situation that's left us speechless."
It could be a couple of weeks before the final autopsy is completed on the child, Kirk said. In the meantime, anybody who might have information in the case has been asked to call the sheriff's office at 979-361-4100.
n Craig Kapitan's e-mail address is [email protected]