The body of a newborn baby found dead in a canal may have been in the water for up to four days before it was discovered, police have said.
The lifeless child was spotted by a walker who saw it floating in the water in Rough Wood Country Park in the West Midlands on Thursday.
The boy, who is believed to have reached full term, was pulled from the Essington Canal but confirmed dead at the scene.
West Midlands Police believe the mother may need medical attention and have appealed for her to come forward, saying she is their "primary concern."
Officers have been examining the scene and have urged anyone with information to contact them.
Detective Chief Inspector Jim Munro, from Force CID, said: “This discovery is simply tragic."
Munro appealed to anyone who may have been in the area over the past few days and saw anything suspicious to make contact with police.
A forensic post mortem will take place next week to determine the cause of death.
Munro added: "The death of this baby is absolutely heart-breaking.
“Our priority at this time is finding the little boy’s mother.
“We’re also working with partners in health, social care and education to see if they can help us identify his mother.
“I realise how distressing this tragedy is for the local community, but please don’t speculate on the circumstances of this upsetting incident, it hinders our investigation and is painful for those involved."
Munro said police had "grave concerns for the mother's wellbeing.
"We have grave concerns for her health and her wellbeing and that is our priority at this time," he said.
"Likewise to any family or anyone who has concerns over somebody who has recently been pregnant, we would ask for them to come forward with information which will be treated in the strictest confidence.
"Also we're directly appealing to people who use the canal, whether that be through boating or through people who walk the area on a regular basis, we believe this area is frequented by a lot of people.
"We would ask people to cast their minds back, have they seen anything suspicious while out walking in that area?
"I would ask them to come forward to allow us to get the mother the medical support she needs and enable us to understand how that little boy has tragically died."
Chief Superintendent Andy Parsons, from Walsall Police, told a press conference: “I’m shocked and saddened about this deeply tragic discovery.
“My thoughts are with him and the wider community who I know are upset and concerned about the nature of what happened.
“We’ve got local officers in the area offering reassurance, please do speak to them if you have any concerns."
Anyone with information, CCTV footage or dashcam footage can provide it via a dedicated police website: https://mipp.police.uk/operation/20HQ20H38-PO1.
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