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Texas probes cause of death of infant found at recycling center

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Reuters) - The medical examiner in San Antonio, Texas, will conduct an autopsy Tuesday on a newborn baby whose body was found a day earlier in a trash recycling center.

Police said they could pursue a capital murder case, which carries the possibility of the death penalty, depending on the outcome of the autopsy.

The infant, who appeared to be between one and 10 days old, was stuffed in a duffel bag, which was among items taken to the recycling facility on Monday.

The gender of the child has not been made public, police said.

"It should never get to a situation where you throw out a child like it was common trash," Daniel Gonzalez, a sergeant with the San Antonio police, told Reuters.

Lisa Doughty, a spokeswoman for Waste Management Inc, which operates the recycling center, said an employee found the body on a conveyor belt.

"That is where all of the recyclable material which is placed into the recycle bins by residents and businesses is taken into the plant to be separated," Doughty said.

Under Texas law, a child under 60 days can be left in the care of an official employee at designated safe places, such as hospitals, fire houses or police stations.

A person who drops off an unharmed infant will not be prosecuted for neglect or abandonment under the "Baby Moses Law," named for the biblical character. The law is aimed at providing desperate parents with a responsible alternative and protects them from criminal prosecution.

"If something happened that you couldn't care for the child, you could take the child to a police station," Gonzalez said. "It shouldn't end like this."

(Reporting by Jim Forsyth; Editing by Jon Herskovitz and Bernadette Baum)

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