Abandoned newborn baby Pearl found dead in woodland was ‘covered in animal bites’

The baby’s body was found in woodland in Greater Manchester (Picture: Caters)

A newborn baby girl who was found dead after being abandoned in woodland was covered in bites from foxes and dogs, it has been reported.

The baby was given the name Pearl by police after her body was discovered by a dog walker in Bluebell Forest in Heywood, near Rochdale, on April 4.

Part of the baby’s umbilical cord was still attached when she was found, with signs the rest was severed roughly.

Greater Manchester Police say the baby may have still been alive when it was abandoned and that her mother could be a victim of rape or incest.

Flowers and toys have been left at the scene (Picture: Caters)

Police said they gave her the name Pearl, meaning precious, because “it’s important we feel that she is given an identity”.

The Sunday Times reported that police believe the baby was carried up a hill in Roch Valley Woods, also known as Bluebell Forest, and rolled down a steep rock face into undergrowth.


Specialist police officers had to abseil down the rock in order to retrieve the child’s body.

A relative of the woman who found the body told the Sunday Times that she “hasn’t stopped crying since”.

The relative added: “It was a horrific sight, something nobody should ever have to see.”

Floral tributes and soft toys have been left near the scene of the discovery.

Detective Chief Inspector Lewis Hughes said: “I can only hope she wasn’t alive at the point she was left here. The alternative doesn’t really bear thinking about.

“We believe the mother may be somebody in distress. Whoever left Pearl here was someone with no emotional attachment for that baby.

Detective Chief Inspector Lewis Hughes, right, addresses the media (Picture: Caters)

“There was not a scrap of clothing on her. She has been treated with no compassion. If it was the mother, she could be a rape victim, or a victim of abuse or incest. It may be a mother who has concealed the birth from others.”

“We think somebody in this community knows what happened to her. We are talking about a little girl thrown away like a piece of rubbish. She deserved more. Help us, please.”

There are 20 officers from Greater Manchester Police working on the case.

Anyone with information may contact police on 0161 856 4810 or 07387 705768, quoting incident number 368 of 04/04/18.

Reports can also be made anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.