Police identify newborn left at recycling centre 10 years ago, dad arrested

FILE - "Baby Precious" was found dead in a Portland recycling centre in 2013. A decade later, her father has been identified and arrested in connection with her death. Portland Police Bureau

Ten years after the body of an unidentified newborn was found abandoned in an Oregon recycling centre, police have charged the baby’s father in connection with her death.

On Thursday, the Portland Police Bureau announced an update in the decade-old cold case of “Baby Precious,” as the infant was called.

Baby Precious, whose real name was Amara, was found dead at a recycling centre on May 28, 2013, in Portland’s Swan Island Industrial Park. At the time, the newborn’s death was declared a homicide.

The discovery of the dead, unidentified infant triggered uproar and distress with many in Portland and beyond calling for justice. Though the case was investigated by the Portland Police Bureau and Crimestoppers of Oregon, there were no viable leads at the time.

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Several years after Baby Precious’ case went cold, Detective Brendan McGuire took on the investigation in 2019. McGuire sent tissue samples collected from Baby Precious to a private laboratory for forensic genetic genealogy assistance.

After patiently waiting, McGuire and his team were notified years later in 2021 that a familial connection had been found. It reportedly took another year and a half to identify and locate Amara’s mother and father.

On Monday, Amara’s father, Alnath Omar Oliver, 53, was charged with two counts of second-degree manslaughter, two counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment, rape and concealing the birth of an infant.

The exact cause of Amara’s death remains unclear.

Oliver was arrested on Thursday and booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center.

“While we continue to mourn the death of baby Amara, we hope this significant announcement helps our community with the healing process from this tragedy,” said police chief Chuck Lovell. “I want to express my appreciation for the tenacity of the investigators in this case, and the determination they had to seek justice for ‘Baby Precious.’”

Under Oregon law, a parent can surrender a newborn that is less than 30 days old to a hospital, birthing clinic, physician’s office, sheriff’s office, police station, fire station or county health department without facing any criminal charges. In each case, there must also be no evidence of abuse.

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