An 18-year-old New Mexico woman was arrested for attempted murder after being caught redhanded on CCTV. Six hours after surveillance footage captured the woman leaving the scene, three individuals heard “cries” coming from the dumpster and made a horrifying find.
Shocking surveillance video captured a woman arriving at a dumpster in a white Volkswagen Jetta before opening the back door and tossing a black trash bag into the trash receptacle in Hobbs, New Mexico. Police identified the woman as 18-year-old Alexis Avila.
Six hours later, Michael Green, Hector Jesso, and April Meadow can be seen on video footage approaching the dumpster after they reported hearing “cries,” which they took to be an animal in distress, police reported. They were horrified to find a newborn baby boy, who was clinging to life.
August Fons, the acting chief of the Hobbs Police Department, said he had never before come across a case like this. “If you are struggling with a new infant, the best response is to find somebody who can help you with that,” he said. “Contact us, and let us help you through the situation.” Fons added that the “dumpster divers” quick action was “absolutely pivotal” in saving the baby boy’s life.
According to a criminal complaint obtained by KRQE, Avila confessed to throwing away her child. The 18-year-old told police she did not know she was pregnant until she went to a doctor for stomach pain. The following day, she delivered her son in a bathroom at her parents’ home. Avila said she had broken up with the baby’s alleged father five months earlier.
After giving birth, Avila claimed she “panicked,” wrapped her son in a towel, placed him in a white plastic bag containing some trash and a larger black trash bag, then drove around before throwing the child in the dumpster at the Broadmoor Shopping Center. The baby would spend six hours in the dumpster before being discovered.
“The baby boy was taken to a Hobbs hospital before being transported to a Lubbock hospital that has a more advanced NICU unit,” KRQE added. “The baby was also given a blood transfusion, put on a feeding tube, and given oxygen. The baby is currently in stable condition. Court documents say when evaluated, the baby’s temperature was so low that it didn’t register, indicating hypothermia.”
Joe Imbriale, who owns Rig Outfitters and Homestore, had his surveillance cameras pointed toward that parking lot behind his establishment. The store owner believes divine intervention saved the baby. “God intervened in this,” Imbriale said. “This is the hand of God protecting that baby for five and a half hours because the cops said this baby shouldn’t have survived…I mean being wrapped up in a bag? He should have suffocated.”
Law enforcement authorities reported that they did interview Avila’s mother, who claimed she had no idea her teen daughter was pregnant. Police charged Avila with attempted murder and child abuse while stressing New Mexico has “safe haven laws” that protect parents from criminal prosecution when they choose to leave infants at safe havens within 90 days of birth.
The New Mexico community where Avila lives was outraged after the teen was released from jail. “Because of surveillance footage, Alexis Avila was quickly arrested,” KOB4 reports. “But she didn’t stay in jail long and was released on bail. While HPD [Hobbs Police Department] feels gratitude — the community feels outraged.”
“What does that say when we set such low bars and low bonds and there are no consequences?” Kimberly Fields, who was attending a protest at Lea County District Court for those furious at Avila’s release, asked rhetorically, adding, “We want community change, we have a problem with this catch and release program.” The state filed for pre-trial detention after Avila was released, but community members say she should have stayed in jail.