POLICE have launched an appeal to trace the mother of a very young baby whose remains were found in bushes near a cemetery in Edinburgh
The infant was discovered on Sunday evening by a member of the public who was walking their dog on the public footpath adjacent to Seafield Cemetery.
Police Scotland have now launched an investigation into the cause of death and how the remains came to be on the public path.
The cycle and footpath runs from Leith to Portobello.
It is thought the remains could have been lying for several weeks, and locals spoke of their sadness at hearing of the infant’s death.
Police are appealing for anyone in the area over the recent weeks and months to come forward if they think they may have seen something.
Detective Chief Inspector David McLaren said: “Last night at around tea time we were contacted by a dog walker who found what he believed to be human remains.
“They are the remains of an infant child. As things stand the investigation is into the death of the child and how it came to be on a public footpath.
“We are still at an early stage of the investigation. There are a lot of forensics to be done.
“It is far too early to say anything about cause of death or any injuries.
“We are appealing to the mother of the child to come forward. The real focus for me is to find the mother.
“She may be in need of medical attention or emotional support and we would ask her to contact Police Scotland.”
He added: “If any family members or neighbours noticed someone who was pregnant and is now without baby, we would also ask them to come forward.”
When asked how old the baby was thought to be DCI McLaren said: “It is difficult to say at this time. It is closer to being a newborn than a toddler.”
When asked if the baby was only weeks old, he said: “Potentially.”
When asked whether the remains had been easily visible or hidden, he said: “It is a busy path used by a lot of people.
“Clearly it [the baby] was not overtly obvious from the footpath.”
DCI McLaren added: “This is a popular area. We would appeal to anyone who may have seen something in the last few weeks or even months to come forward.”
DCI McLaren declined to comment on reports the body had been found mutilated.
A local resident said: “There were maybe about six or seven police cars and vans, and a lot of forensics were there too.
“I’m really saddened to hear what it was. I knew that it was something serious when I saw forensics out there.
“I presumed it was a murder, but to hear it is the remains of a baby is desperately sad.
“It’s quite a popular cycle path that opened fairly recently. It goes from Leith to Portobello, so there are always a lot of people around.
“I suspect that it is hasn’t been there too long. I don’t think something could go unnoticed there for long, even though there are bushes and shrubbery around it.”
Local resident Alan Black, 41, a screenwriter, said: “It’s horrific.
“It’s always horrific when you hear about those kind of things.
“You would think someone would notice that a baby is missing or someone who was pregnant doesn’t have a baby.
“Also, you’d think that someone might have heard the baby if it had been left there. It’s a busy path, there are always people walking along it.”
Another local who did not want to be named said: “I just think it’s so sad. It’s horrible to think that the little baby was left there, it’s horrible.”
The police could not comment on sex or ethnicity of the baby as they said it was still too early in their investigation.