A £5,000 reward has been offered for information to help catch the killer of newborn baby boy who was found dumped in a canal as it emerged the case is now being treated as murder.
The child was discovered by a passer-by floating in the water in Rough Wood Country Park, in Willenhall, Walsall, West Midlands, at 1pm on 20 May this year.
The youngster, believed to have been full term, was pulled from the Essington Canal but was sadly confirmed dead at the scene.
‘A sad, tragic case’
West Midlands Police revealed at the time the child may have been in the water for up to four days and appealed for the mother to come forward.
Crimestoppers has now offered a £5,000 reward for information which leads to the arrest and conviction of the baby's killer, or killers.
Mick Duthie, Crimestoppers Director of Operations, said: “This is a particularly sad, tragic case and shocking for the community, so we are keen to have answers as to what happened and who was involved.
"We are urging anyone who may know something to contact our charity anonymously as soon as possible.
"There is concern also for the wellbeing of the baby’s mother.
“Investigators, who have asked our charity to put up this reward, believe that someone may know or suspect who the mother is.
"We hope that our reward for information given anonymously will help prompt someone’s conscience to speak up and tell us what they know.
“Everyone who contacts Crimestoppers stays 100 per cent anonymous. Always. We have kept this promise for over 32 years.
"When you call our UK Contact Centre on freephone 0800 555 111, which is open 24/7, or use our simple, secure and anonymous online form to give information, nobody will know you contacted us, only you.”
At the time, police issued a direct appeal to the boy's mother to come forward and said she remained their "primary concern."
The force asked anyone who might know who the woman is - for example anyone who may have recently been pregnant, but now isn’t - to get in touch.
Officers also appealed to anyone who may have been in the area who saw anything suspicious to make contact with police.
‘Come forward with information’
Detective Chief Inspector Jim Munro, from Force CID, said previously: “This discovery is simply tragic.
"The death of this baby is absolutely heart-breaking.
“Our priority at this time is finding the little boy’s mother.
“We’re also working with partners in health, social care and education to see if they can help us identify his mother.
“I realise how distressing this tragedy is for the local community, but please don’t speculate on the circumstances of this upsetting incident, it hinders our investigation and is painful for those involved.
"We are appealing for the mom of that little boy to come forward and speak with us.
"We have grave concerns for her health and her wellbeing and that is our priority at this time.
"Likewise to any family or anyone who has concerns over somebody who has recently been pregnant.
"We would ask for them to come forward with information which will be treated in the strictest confidence.
"Also we're directly appealing to people who use the canal, whether that be through boating or through people who walk the area on a regular basis, we believe this area is frequented by a lot of people.
"So we would ask people to cast their minds back, have they seen anything suspicious while out walking in that area?
"I would ask them to come forward to allow us to get the mom the medial support she needs and enable us to understand how that little boy has tragically died."
Chief Superintendent Andy Parsons, from Walsall Police, added: “I’m shocked and saddened about this deeply tragic discovery.
“My thoughts are with him and the wider community who I know are upset and concerned about the nature of what happened."