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Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK
Psychologist aids baby death inquiry
Toys at the scene
Toys from the public have been left at the scene
Detectives investigating the death of a baby, found in a bag in a south Wales canal, have enlisted the help of psychologists in an attempt to trace his mother.

The specialist advice will be used to concentrate on finding the woman following the discovery of the dead boy on Friday in the Monmouth and Brecon canal.

The holdall which contained the body
The body was found in this green holdall

Psychological guidance is often used by detectives to help solve police investigations.

The focus of the inquiry has also been turned onto hospitals, clinics and surgeries in the hope of producing new leads.

On Monday, Gwent police officers heading the inquiry, said they wanted to contact two girls who had been seen in the area.

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

Witnesses told police they had seen one of the girls - who had blonde, shoulder-length hair and was wearing a red top - visibly upset and being comforted by her friend.

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

Police at the canal
Officers searched the canal for clues

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

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.

Fingertip search

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.

The results are expected towards the end of the week.

A team of 30 police officers have conducted a fingertip search of the canal and the surrounding area and have carried 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.

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.

Heavily overgrown

Posters of the bag have been circulated by the investigation team.

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

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

The stretch of the canal is heavily overgrown and obscured from motorists.

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
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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