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PPA continue search for mother of deceased infant found in Lääne County

The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) has not yet been able to locate the mother of a deceased newborn found in a Lääne County village on Monday, amid concerns about her welfare.

Vello Palmits, head of procedures at the Haapsalu PPA station, told "Aktuaalne kaamera" that: "We cannot at present confirm the origin of the child's mother. She may be from elsewhere in Estonia. Expertise has been ordered, and after that comes it might be possible to give some answers. At the moment, we do not know."

A PPA search in the vicinity of Suure-Lähtru, Lääne-Nigula Municipality, and around 20 kilometers from Haapsalu, in Lääne County, has been ongoing since Monday.

This followed authorities receiving a report that a dog had brought the deceased infant in its mouth to a local farmstead. The dog is reportedly a family pet at that location.

It is not known where the dog had found the deceased newborn, and as noted it is not clear if the mother is a local resident of Lääne County.

The PPA has also been checking with local hospitals and has contacted local midwives.

Vello Palmits said he hoped that within the week it can be clarified whether the infant had been a still-born, or had been alive at birth.

It had not been possible to obtain comment from Suure-Lähtru local residents as of Wednesday, though it was reported via rumor that there was no local resident woman who could have recently given birth.

Riin Rosenberk, a Lääne County midwife and lecturer on birth delivery at the Tallinn University's School of Natural Sciences and Health, said that if a pregnant woman lacks an adequate support network and is not being monitored by a medical professional, issues such as mental health problems or an abusive relationships may go unnoticed.

More work needs to be done in this area in Estonia, she said.

This would include "Various cooperation models, giving lectures, reaching out to women – so that we can bring awareness to women. It is vital to include midwives as specialists here, even as specialists working regularly with a family doctor of the primary health care center, and who can actually help to prevent such situations," Rosenberk said.

In addition to conducting its local search, the PPA is also following up other leads.

Andrei Taratuhin, chief of the Haapsalu PPA station, said: "We have concurrently been over all scenarios, all the information which has become known to us, and we have received tip-offs as well."

"For the meantime, the identity of the mother has not been identified," Taratuhin reiterated.

Lääne County, a largely rural county with a population of a little over 20,000, has never seen any similar case in its recent history.

In 2015, media reports from Võru County stated that the mother of a deceased infant found in the forest had not been identified.

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Editor: Mari Peegel, Andrew Whyte

Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera,' reporter Juhan Hepner.

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