Witness: Baby's body found amid homeless woman's items

A 34-year-old woman from Heerhugowaard was shocked upon the discovery of a dead infant wrapped in shopping bags inside her storage shed. The woman, Sandra Popma, suspects that the baby was left there by a homeless friend who was using Popma’s shed for storage.

Popma told AD that the friend put items in the shed more than a year ago. They have not spoken to each other in months, she said, adding that the friend only rarely came to check on the storage.

It has not yet been determined if the homeless friend is actually associated with the baby. Police said they are aware of Popma's story, and were investigating the detail further.

Popma found the child’s body when she packed a camping bed in the shed. It was only then that she noticed a foul odor akin to old garbage. She asked her friend, Deborah van der Jager, 35, for help.

“I recognized a head between the plastic,” Van der Jager told AD. The two contacted the police immediately.

The sex of the infant was not disclosed, but Popma said it was a white child found in the fetal position. The age of the child was also not revealed, nor if the child was born alive.

Counselling and support services were made available to people living in the community since the discovery of the deceased child on Thursday. The town’s deputy mayor, Carolien van Diemen, visited the area to offer her support.

In a statement to the media, Heerhugowaard mayor Han ter Heegde said he was, “deeply affected by this tragedy.”

A silent vigil and march in honour of the baby will take place in the village on Thursday.

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