Dead baby found inside box outside North Miami gas station

Police unsure how baby died as investigation continues

NORTH MIAMI, Fla. – Police are investigating the death of a baby that was found inside a box left outside a North Miami gas station.

North Miami police were called about 6 a.m. to a U-Gas station on Northwest 119th Street.

Jose Rosario, who works at the gas station, told Local 10 News a man went to the dumpster to grab a milk crate on which to sit. When he opened it, he found the dead baby inside.

The body of David Manzano was found inside a box next to a dumpster outside a U-Gas station in North Miami in September 2014.

The baby's remains were found inside a small cardboard box. Police spent hours taking photographs of the baby and the scene.

Police said the infant was less than a month old.

A blanket wrapped around the body prevented investigators from determining the baby's sex. Police also didn't know how the baby died.

"I cannot even answer that," Maj. Neal Cuevas told Local 10 News. "It is too early in the investigation to know."

Early into the investigation a man, identified by North Miami police as Jarren Hood, approached the crime scene, telling police he worked at a nearby funeral home. He claimed one of their cars had been broken into, hinting that the baby may have been inside.

Police have been questioning Hood all day.

According to North Miami police, Hood is the son of the owner of Carey Royal Ram'n Mortuary.

Jarren Hood, the son of Carey Royal Ram'n Mortuary's owner, says someone broke into the van.

Local 10 News learned the baby was actually in Hood's care, as he or she was being transported from a hospital to a funeral home. Hood was driving a transport van for the company and claims it was broken into. But he hasn't been able to explain to detectives who left the baby in the box at the gas station.

Police said Hood was taken to jail Friday evening and charged with resisting officer without violence to his person. Police said Hood didn't reveal much about what actually happened. 

Carey Royal Ram'n Mortuary released the following statement Friday evening:

"We at the Carey Royal Ram'n Mortuary funeral home express our deepest regret and sympathies to the family of the child that was stolen from our care. We were victimized by unscrupulous individuals who sought financial gain by stealing the contents of one of our vehicles.

"We surmise that the thieves did not know that the box inside the vehicle contained a precious soul. We express our deepest sympathies to the family and ask for their forgiveness and understanding through this difficult time. We also ask that the public and media respect the privacy of the family as well as the privacy of the Carey Royal Ram'n Mortuary."

Hood bonded out of jail Saturday morning. 

The body was taken to a medical examiner's office to determine the cause of death.

Follow Liane Morejon on Twitter @LianeMorejonTV

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