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New details in child abandoned in dumpster case

Court documents reveal chilling new details on the baby who was left in a North Austin apartment complex dumpster two weeks ago. (CBS Austin)

Court documents reveal chilling new details on the baby who was left in a North Austin apartment complex dumpster two weeks ago.

According to the affidavit, Althea Johnson gave birth to a baby girl in her apartment, then abandoned her in the dumpster shortly after.

Austin Police arrested Johnson Tuesday, and charged her with abandoning a child, which is a second degree felony.

"Suffice to say, I don't think there's a good reason why that would happen, but as far as the why in this particular case, I can't really answer that question," said Detective Lee Knouse, with APD's Child Abuse Unit.

The affidavit says Austin-Travis County EMS told detectives the baby was blue or grey in color, had a low pulse, and was still attached to her placenta when they arrived on scene at the Mira Vista apartments.

Teresa Reese lives in the same apartment complex, and she says the morning police were there, Johnson pretended to not know what was going on, and asked her why the police were there.

Now, Reese, says she's glad Johnson is now charged.

"I know it's a long road ahead of us, but just knowing she's been at least picked up, that gives me a peace of mind," Reese said.

Two weeks after this incident, Reese says she is still in shock someone could do this to a baby.

"It really did break my heart," Reese said. "I could not believe it. I couldn't put my mind in that space, to even fathom why you would do a child like this. This is a newborn baby."

Knouse has been a detective with the Child Abuse Unit for two years, and he says this is the first case of its kind he has investigated.

Police were called after a homeless man found the baby while looking inside the dumpster.

"I really feel like the baby had a guardian angel, or whatever the case," Knouse said.

Knouse says the Baby Safe Haven law is something he wish he saw practiced in this situation. Under this law, you can turn in your baby to a hospital or EMS if you are unable to care for it, without criminal punishment.

The baby, along with her three siblings, are now with family.

Child Protective Services could not comment directly on this case, since it was still an active investigation, but they say in a situation like this, the best outcome is whenever the children can stay with family members, which was the case here.

We knocked on Johnson's door. A man answered, but did not want to comment.

Austin Police do not expect to charge anyone else at this time.

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