(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- A Craigslist advertisement with a graphic photo of a newborn and a threat to abandon the baby in a trash can has Colorado police both hunting for a possibly desperate teenage mother and investigating whether the ad could be a hoax.
"Desperate baby will die if someone doesn't pick it up," the advertisement's headline screamed in capital letters when it was flagged by a Craigslist user and sent to Colorado Springs police last week.
The ad contained a picture of the baby on what looks like blue surgical dressing, still covered in after-birth with the umbilical cord attached.
Colorado Springs Sgt. Steve Noblitt called the photo "pretty convincing."
"I'm a teenare (sic) mother who was kicked out from my moms and dads house because i was pregnant 9 months ago," the ad read. "i have just given birth and i don't know what to do with the baby,my bf will put it in the trashcan right in front of the apartments so somone can pick it up."
"I JUST DON"T KNOW WHAT TO DO!!!" the ad read. "please help my baby."
Noblitt said police were investigating the ad within 20 minutes of it being posted and immediately sent officers to the address provided on Craiglist. But they did not find an abandoned baby anywhere in the neighborhood.
"We checked all the trash cans and Dumpsters," he said.
They also traced the IP address from which the ad was posted, but the couple living at the corresponding home had no involvement and told police that they had been using an unlocked Wi-Fi signal, meaning anyone nearby could have used it to acces the Internet.
Three days later, on Monday, they were made aware of a second advertisement that again said a baby would be abandoned, this time in a park. Again, a police search turned up nothing.
"This ad, though, we don't know if it's connected to the first or what," Noblitt said. "It had the smell of maybe a copycat, but who knows."
"Bottom line," he said, "we went there and there was no baby."
Both cases have been turned over to the Colorado Springs Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children Unit to be investigated as both a real threat and a hoax.
"It's our responsibility to treat it as if it's real," he said. "If we don't, we're not doing our jobs."
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