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Police Offer Few Details in Baby's Death

Residents of a Yorba Linda townhouse complex are puzzled by the lack of information about a newborn found on a roof.

March 26, 2001|SEEMA MEHTA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Two days after a dead baby was discovered on the roof of a Yorba Linda townhouse, police were releasing few details.

Friday morning, a resident of an East Lake townhouse in the 5200 block of Via Murcia discovered a dead full-term newborn between sections of his sloped rooftop, police said.

Neither the Brea Police Department, which patrols Yorba Linda, nor the Orange County coroner's office have released the sex of the baby or the cause or time of death. No arrests had been made as of Sunday evening.

Brea Police Lt. Martin Needham said the Orange County coroner's office had not determined by Sunday night whether the death was a homicide.

Residents of the quiet neighborhood overlooking a picturesque lake were shocked by news of the baby's discovery--police had swarmed their cul-de-sac Friday and Saturday, yet no one would tell them what had happened. Sunday morning, neighbors gathered in garages and on the street, trying to find out more.

When Jean Patoff, who lives next door to the house where the baby was found, left her home around 9 a.m. Friday, she saw two police cruisers on the street. When she returned about 2 1/2 hours later, the street was choked with patrol cars. She later saw investigators on the roof of her next-door neighbor's house. When she asked police what they were investigating, they wouldn't tell her.

"I had trouble sleeping last night," said Patoff, who has lived there nearly 14 years.

When Patoff finally found out from a newspaper brief Sunday morning, she said, "We were shocked. We just aren't used to something like this."

The cul-de-sac of beige townhouses is next to artificial East Lake, where ducks can be seen swimming on its serene waters. The neighborhood is close-knit and houses many older couples.

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