Aunt blows whistle on Santarém’s tragic dead baby discovery

Police have found the 22-year-old woman who they believe to be the mother of the dead newborn baby discovered on Saturday, rolled-up in blankets on scrubland near one of Santarém’s main roads.

The woman’s aunt walked into Santarém PSP station on Sunday morning, telling them she knew who the mother was and feared the baby had been a victim of abuse, reports Correio da Manhã.

Célia Arroteia told police that her niece had given birth to the child four days previously in the basement of an abandoned house.

It was a place not far from where the young mother lives with her husband and two other children, she said, explaining that her niece had attempted to hide the pregnancy, because it was the “fruit of an extra-marital relationship”.

“I saw her using a belt to hide her stomach, but everyone knew she was pregnant,” Arroteia told CM.

What appears to be even more tragic is that the aunt claims to have alerted child protection authority CPCJ to the problem “about three months ago”.

Her niece, named only as Rafaela, was meant to be being “supported by CPCJ”, so why she ended up giving birth alone in the cellar of an abandoned house is one of the many questions police will now be asking her.

This is not the first desperate end to a young life that was allegedly under the umbrella of the authorities. The Resident has talked extensively to PJ police in Portimão who said it was time more investigation was taken into what “being supported by the CPCJ” actually means.

“It’s all very well to say the person or child is known to the CPCJ, but what do they do after that? That is the big question. Too many tragedies take place, all the time,” a source told us.

For now, Rafaela is ‘helping police with their inquiries’, while the body of her newborn is due to be autopsied.

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