Baby silhouette (stock photo)
Unidentified White Female Newborn was given the name “Baby Allison” shortly after being found December 31, 2003 in Strasburg Township, Lancaster County (PA)
It was Wednesday, December 31, 2003 – New Year’s Eve, at around 3:30 in the afternoon. Children at the Sycamore Amish Schoolhouse on Weaver Road were taking the day’s trash to a burn barrel on the school’s property. They lit the trash but immediately put the fire out when they saw that something else was in the barrel.
It was a baby, a newborn baby girl with the umbilical cord still attached. She had been put into a plastic bag and placed in the burn barrel.
Stock photo of what a burn barrel looks like
A neighbor who had a telephone called the police. The coroner pronounced her dead at 5:00 that afternoon. An autopsy showed that the full-term, 6 lb girl had been born alive. Her throat had been slit. Genetically, she was determined to be a white female, of European ancestry. She was not the result of incest. There is less than a 3% chance that she came from the Amish community.
After hearing reports of the baby’s discovery, an employee of the Turkey Hill Minit Market on N. Decatur St in Strasburg recalled finding something in the store’s restroom on December 26th that might be connected to the case. The store is about 4 miles from where the baby was found. Evidence was collected from the restroom and sent for testing. Police started contacting customers who had made credit card purchases that day, hoping to find someone who had seen or heard anything unusual. The public was urged to come forward with any information that could aid in the investigation.
Police theorize that the child’s mother was likely a young woman, under 20 and probably from the local area. If the baby was born in the restroom, the mother, and possibly another person, would have had to have access to a vehicle to get the child from the store to the burn barrel behind the schoolhouse. But N. Decatur Street, Route 896, is the main road into Strasburg, frequented by locals and tourists alike. So it is possible, if not likely, that the child’s mother was from outside of the area.