The discovery of the body of an infant at the side of a gravel road near Minam State Park, Monday, March 8, has electrified law enforcement in three counties.
Wallowa County Sheriff's officers received a call from fishermen at approximately noon March 8 reporting that they had spotted what they believed to be the body of an infant along the road between the Minam State Park and Highway 82. The gravel road extends north into the popular fishing area near the confluence of the Wallowa and Minam rivers.
Sheriff Fred Steen, Undersheriff Steve Rogers, Deputy Neil Rogers, Oregon State Trooper Brian Miller and Wallowa County District Attorney Mona K. Williams immediately responded and made contact with the fishermen and others in the area.
"What we discovered at the scene was what we believed to be, at the time, a near full term baby deceased alongside the road," Steen reported.
The joint Union, Baker and Wallowa County major crimes team was immediately assembled and the investigation continues with Wallowa County Sheriff's Office taking the lead, assisted by Oregon State Police, the La Grande Police Department, and the Wallowa County District Attorney's office.
Steen reported that persons of interest were being interviewed but that no arrests had taken place. As of Tuesday, March 9, the investigation was being termed a suspicious death investigation.
Steen reported that information gathered so far indicates the baby was left at the scene within 24 hours prior to the report to law enforcement.
The body of the infant was sent to the state medical examiner in Portland and a report will yield more information, Steen said. The report may take as much as two weeks to complete. "It's hard to say when their findings will be sent to us," Steen said.
As part of the investigation the Sheriff's Office impounded a car. Steen declined to comment on the vehicle.