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updated: 6/23/2013 8:58 AM

Baby rescued from drains in Spain, mother arrested

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Associated Press

MADRID -- A 26-year-old woman has been arrested in the eastern Spanish city of Alicante on suspicion of attempting to murder her newborn baby who had to be rescued from inside a building's drains, the Interior Ministry said Sunday.

The ministry said the two-day old boy, who still had his umbilical cord attached and was found wrapped in plastic bags, could have been trapped for 40 hours at a point where the building's drains converged into a 1 square meter (1.2 square yard) manhole in a courtyard.

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A neighbor had alerted firefighters at 2 a.m. (0100 GMT) Sunday to what was originally thought to be a meowing cat trapped inside the drains, the ministry said in a statement.

The baby, who weighed 2.1 kilograms (4.6 pounds), is said to be in a serious but not life-threatening condition in hospital, having suffered a fracture to a bone in one arm. The baby had other injuries too, which have yet to be detailed.

The ministry said police investigators have been able to determine that the unnamed woman lived in the building, but had been admitted to Alicante's General Hospital on June 21 where she told medical staff she had suffered a miscarriage.

When police arrived at the hospital to question her, the mother acknowledged to officers that she had tried to get rid of the baby but had not had enough money to pay for an abortion.

The statement said the mother was under arrest and that an investigation was under way to try and discover whether she acted alone, or if a third party could have been involved in the ditching of the baby in the building's communal drains.

Last month rescue workers in eastern China had to extract a newborn baby who had become stuck in a sewer pipe after its mother had tried to give birth in secret.

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