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Updated: Infant’s body discovered in a pond in Sterling

Loudoun County Sheriff’s deputies walk the paths in Sterling as they investigate the death of a newborn in a residential pond. —Times-Mirror Staff Photo/John Geddie

As most Sterling residents were enjoying the first signs of spring on April 7, the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office began its investigation to try to discover how a newborn infant found its way into a local pond.

At 11:42 a.m., a pedestrian strolling the paved trails that surround a man-made pond in the CountrySide development of Sterling spotted the body of an unclothed baby floating in the water. Several houses back into the pond, located near Awsley Court, less than a mile from Algonkian Elementary.

The infant girl was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency personnel.

Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman said April 8 in a press conference that preliminary autopsy reports indicate the baby was full-term, weighing approximately 7 pounds and measuring around 21 inches. She was white or Hispanic. The infant had not eaten and had been in the water “no more than a couple of days,” according to Chapman.

It appeared the baby didn't suffer any trauma, Chapman said.

Because the baby hadn't eaten, officials believe she died at or near her time of birth.

The medical examiner confirmed earlier police reports that the baby was born out of a hospital setting.

Thus far, the medical examiner has yet to determine whether the baby was a stillborn or live birth, or even whether there was water present in her lungs.

Both Chapman and Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Plowman used the April 8 press conference as an opportunity to remind people of the “safe haven” laws available in Virginia.

Under the law, one may leave a baby under 14 days old at a hospital, emergency room or with an EMS provider without being prosecuted.

“It provides an out for someone in a predicament that wants to hand a child off safely,” Plowman said.

Chapman indicated he plans on discussing this with School Resource Officers to make sure teenagers are aware of the option.

“It does not have to happen like this,” Chapman said.

The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office has expressed concern for the medical well-being of the mother, given that the birth was outside a hospital setting, and are encouraging her to visit a hospital or call the Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office is working with Child Protective Services, School Resource Officers and the community in hopes of identifying the mother. Chapman would not hypothesize on possible charges the mother would face.

As deputies comb the neighborhood, knocking on doors in hopes of finding a lead in the investigation, pedestrians have dropped off bouquets near the edge of the pond, commemorating a life that could have been.

Members of the community who have information regarding the identity of the mother or who saw anything in the Awsley Court area are asked to contact Det. S. Petrakos at 703-777-0475.

This is an ongoing story. More information will be released as it becomes available.


Yet again we have another successful hijacking of a report of a dead baby to discuss LCSO compensation levels.  Another topic was also about someone’s position on abortion. 

I wonder how they’re going to connect the next articles to these two topics.

Folks, be prepared for the LCSO topic to come up repeatedly _everytime_ a Loudoun county deputy is mentioned on this website.  Someone certainly has their campaign going full swing.

FTA:  “Both Chapman and Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman used the April 8 press conference as an opportunity to remind people of the “safe haven” laws available in Virginia. Under the law, one may leave a baby under 14 days old at a hospital, emergency room or with an EMS provider without being prosecuted. “It provides an out for someone in a predicament that wants to hand a child off safely,” Plowman said.”

Glad to hear VA has a “safe haven” law; the word really needs to get out.  Hopefully this article will highlight this law to the public.

Umm, yeah I judged you. On what basis? Your past comments. And thank you for letting me know this is a public forum. I was under the impression this was some sort of private loudount intranet.
So… let’s get back to the story, and the past interaction we had. What is your stance on a woman’s right to choose (abortion, not ketchup or mustard)?

@Frank Jameso
“Did not expect that from you.  I guess you have a heart after all.”

Ah, in other words, you judged me, didn’t you?  Yet, you had no basis whatsoever for the judgment you made, which you put out in a public forum.  You don’t know who I am, nor do you know anything about me.

So why did you do it?

And what do your comments have to do with this story?

@ Mark Gunderman
I’m not sure if you’ve realized this, but did you know humans are capable of love and compassion sans religion? Please google secular humanism.
I don’t need a bible to tell me what’s right and wrong. You might, but I don’t. Because I have the capability to reason for myself.
For example, I don’t need a bible to tell me rape is wrong (although technically, rape is ok according to the bible… it’s not even in the 10 commandments!)
Folks like you say that the reason we have violence in schools is because God has been banned. God is accepted in your Catholic Churches. Why does he not stop child molestation?
Civil Governance may be considered a ministry, but it absolutely should not. Just ask this Country’s forefathers when you meet them.

@ ffx cop

As I noted, it’s a free country. You can disagree all you want but I’m still 100% spot-on correct.

Without the LCSO and support personnel working in our communities, we would not appreciate the safe and secure lifestyles that we now enjoy.  The thin blue line establishes a barrier between light and darkness, good and evil, setting boundaries that hold back crime and ensure our comfort and community safety.

Civil governance may be considered a ministry and therefore should be upheld according to the principles cited by Paul in I Timothy, Chapter 2.  In Romans it is declared the rules (authorities) are not a weapon against good works, but to evil. Officers have a specific mandate under God to confront and punish evil.  Without that line of defense, lawlessness and violence would abound.

The word of God helps to put the world of law enforcement into perspective.  The citizen’s use of scriptures, devotionals and prayers will protect those in law enforcement whose faith may be challenged due to the dangerous environment that they may experience on a daily basis.  The police officer must be one who administers the hand of justice here on Earth on God’s behalf.

Did not expect that from you. I guess you have a heart after all.

God bless those involved with this case, it touches the hearts of all involved.

I agree with the point of the 1st poster and strongly disagree with “loco wonders”. As a tax payer for Loudoun County how can one support our tax dollars paying to train future officer’s for Fairfax and Montgomery Counties.  It costs use far more to continually train and then have Deputies transferre then it does to just pay them a decent regional salary.

Sheriff Chapman, I’m still a supporter of LCSO and when I retire from ffx in 4 years I want to work for Loudoun. Everyone is watching this, closer then most realize. Do right by your people.

@ Tax Payer, Voter, et al

It’s debatable whether or not public employees are “taken advantage of”.  There are long list of people waiting to be “taken advantage of” with short workweeks, full healthcare, early retiremnt that is COLA adjusted, etc, etc. 

Also note that its a free country.  They are free to go to Fairfax, Montgomery, Prince William, etc. if they are so inclined.

At least one of the homeowners by the pond has perimeter surveillance cameras set up.

How sad and tragic.  God bless this little one.  I make no judgments about the mother, who probably felt very desperate and alone.

And who responded to the scene, LCSO. 

Who investigated the tragedy, LCSO.

Who will spend countless hours preparing the case only to go to court on an off day and then flex/adjust the time off while being paid the lowest salary in the region,  you guessed it - LCSO…...

God blesses the brave men and women who respond to disturbing scenes like these (daily) and have to deal with the memories, that never go away.

May God have pitty on the “tax collectors and politicians” who take advantage of the peace keepers by paying them low wages.

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