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Monday, 14 October, 2002, 20:11 GMT 21:11 UK
Teenagers sought over baby death
The holdall which contained the body
The baby's body was hidden in this green holdall
Detectives investigating the death of a baby whose body was found in a bag in a south Wales canal want to trace two teenage girls.

The teenagers, believed to be between 14 and 16, were reportedly seen near the Monmouth and Brecon canal on several occasions over the last month.

message from public
Heartfelt messages were left at the scene

House-to-house inquiries carried out over the weekend resulted in the new information.

Witnesses said that, on one occasion, one of the girls - who had blonde, shoulder-length hair and was wearing a red top - was visibly upset and being comforted by her friend.

The blonde girl was also seen walking alone in the same area.

The body of the baby boy, weighing five-and-a-half pounds, was discovered in a green holdall floating in the canal near Newbridge on Friday.


Gwent Police have appealed for the girls - one with blond shoulder-length hair - to come forward.

Officers said that although the pair may have nothing to do with the investigation, they need to speak to them urgently to rule them out of the inquiry.

Further tests are to be carried out on the child, following two post-mortem examinations which proved inconclusive.

Tests carried out at the weekend revealed that the baby had been dead for up to five weeks.

baby's toy
Child's toy left at scene of death

Among the things still to be clarified are whether the boy was born alive or dead, and how long he had been in the water.

Local people, who have been shocked by the tragedy, have been leaving floral tributes and toys along the canal bank.

A team of 30 police officers have been conducting a fingertip search of the canal and the surrounding area and carrying out house-to-house inquiries.

Police have said they are concerned for the safety and welfare of the baby's mother and she could be in need of medical attention.

'Not in trouble'

DCI Andy Williams, who is leading the enquiry, said on Monday : "We are still appealing to the mother of the baby boy to get in touch.

"We also need to speak to these two girls to eliminate them from the enquiry. They are not in any trouble."

A walker collecting stray golf balls spotted a green Lee sports holdall in the water on Friday afternoon, dragged it out, and found the dead baby inside.

The spot where the baby was discovered is a popular area with anglers, walkers, and wildlife enthusiasts.

Heavily overgrown

It is near the newly-built Trecelyn roundabout on the busy A467 road between Ebbw Vale and Newport.

The stretch of the canal being examined by police is heavily overgrown and obscured from motorists.

There has been a police presence at the scene since the discovery of the body.

Sub-aqua officers have continued their search of the waters and local anglers who fish the stretch regularly are to be interviewed in case they have seen anything suspicious.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the incident room on 01495 320308 or Gwent Police Headquarters on 01633 838111.

BBC Wales' Hefina Rendle
"People in the area are stunned by the news"
BBC Wales' Rhodri Lewis
"The only gruesome clue in this case is a green sports bag"

More from south east Wales
See also:

14 Oct 02 | Wales
12 Oct 02 | Wales
12 Sep 02 | England
15 Jul 02 | Europe
12 Sep 02 | England
04 Apr 02 | England
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