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Report: Mom of baby trapped in China sewer pipe says he slipped from her hands

China Daily via Reuters

Baby No. 59 - known by his incubator number - cries as he recovers in hospital. The boy, found trapped in a sewer pipe, was said to be recovering.

BEIJING – The mother of a baby boy found stuck in a residential building’s sewer pipe in China has been found, police told local media.

The police would not comment on the case over the telephone, but did brief local reporters. According to the state-run Qianjiang Evening News paper, the unidentified 22-year-old woman said that her baby slipped from her hands after the delivery and down the toilet drain, where he remained until firefighters freed him hours later.

Firefighters in eastern China rescued an abandoned newborn baby boy lodged in a sewage pipe after he was apparently flushed down the toilet. NBC's Natalie Morale reports.

The baby, who was earlier reported to be about two days old, was found on Saturday in Jinhua City, Zhejiang province.

The mother reportedly confessed when police confronted her and asked her to submit to a health checkup

Police detained the mother after a brief investigation, Qianjiang Evening News reported.

While police in Jinhua would not comment on the case by telephone, state-run newspapers including the Qianjiang Evening News said that the woman told police she had gotten pregnant after a one-night stand.

The woman reportedly said she could not afford an abortion and hid her pregnancy from neighbors by tying strips of cloth around her stomach and wearing baggy clothes. The father of the child refused to acknowledge his paternity, police told the paper.

The mother told police that Sunday’s delivery came as a surprise. She reportedly went to the fourth-floor public bathroom where she lived as she felt sick and found herself in labor.

Not wanting her child, but unwilling to leave him to die in the drain, she reportedly notified a neighbor of sounds coming from the pipes, who then called police to investigate.     

Jinhua police said on Tuesday that the case was being treated as an attempted murder investigation, but with the mother in custody having admitted the boy was her child, it was unclear whether police would charge her.

The baby meanwhile – known in China as Baby No. 59 because of his incubator number at the hospital where he was taken to – was reportedly in stable condition.

Pujiang People’s Hospital officials declined to comment on the baby’s health today, but told NBC News on Tuesday that the boy was stable and his prognosis good despite heavy bruising to his legs, arms and head.

On Chinese social media, the story drew condemnation from many netizens who suspect the mother dumped the baby on purpose. It has also led to an outpouring of support for the child, who has received powdered milk, toys and blankets from the community and across China.

NBC News’ Dalin Liu contributed to this report.