Three dumpster diving heroes who found the New Mexico baby boy abandoned in the trash by his teen mom initially thought they’d discovered a puppy, DailyMail.com can reveal.
April Meadow, 43, Hector Jesso, 63, and Michael Green, 36, were driving home from a casino in Hobbs, New Mexico, when they decided to check the trash cans behind an oil rig outfitter store.
Inside was newborn Saul Astorga who had been thrown away by his mother Alexis Avila, 18, five hours earlier.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, Meadow relived the dramatic events of last Friday and told how the trio had heard whimpering coming from the dumpster and first thought it was a puppy or a kitten.
Green said he jumped into the trash can and dug through a heap of garbage before finding the bag.
April Meadow said her first reaction on realizing there was an infant in the dumpster was to shout ‘It’s a f**kin baby!’
Teenage parents Stephen Astorga and Alexis Avila broke up in the summer before she gave birth to baby Saul last week
Hector Jesso, 63, Michael Green, 36, and April Meadow, 42, went dumpster diving after visiting a casino in Hobbs, New Mexico
He said: ‘I just started going through the trash – it was instinct. Just trying to get to [the bag]. I didn’t even look in the bag – I was thinking a dog or a cat or something, but I didn’t want to see it all bloody you know. Sometimes, I get grossed out.’
Meadow said she was the one who ripped open the bag and was shocked when she realized they’d found a newborn.
She said: ‘The bag was done up. It’s because Michael grabbed the bag because he heard that cry – he set it down on the ground and we thought there’s a dog in there or a kitten.’
When she realized what was really inside, Meadow said her first response was to shout ‘it’s a f**king baby!’
She added: ‘I said it’s a f**king baby. I turned around and said oh my gosh, get him out of the trash.
‘He was quiet. He was just laying there in a red towel. I said, what the f**k? It’s a baby and [Jesso] started freaking out. I smashed him out of there.’
Jesso said: ‘It was a big surprise. A huge surprise actually. I heard him crying. I thought it was a kitten when I saw movement.’
Alexis Avila duped her newborn son in a dumpster behind an oil rig outfitters store in her home town of Hobbs, New Mexico
Avila, 18, appeared in court in Lovington, Texas on Wednesday afternoon, looking straight ahead and avoiding cameras
Alexis Avila (pictured in a mugshot after her arrest says she panicked after giving birth. She claims she didn’t know she was pregnant until the day before
Meadow, a mom-of-three, said her maternal instincts kicked in and she ‘swooped him up’ while Green called 911.
She told DailyMail.com: ‘I didn’t know what to do after that. I was just holding him and his arms were ice cold.
‘But [Jesso] told me to get in the truck and I covered him up with my snap on jacket.
The heroic trio said they waited five minutes for the cops and EMTs to arrive, with Meadow holding the little boy while they waited.
She said: ‘It was about five minutes I held him – it’s a long time since I held a newborn.’
All three said they were relieved they managed to find the baby in time, with Green telling DailyMail.com that it was ‘pure luck’ they had decided to search the dumpster.
Meadow added: ‘It gives me goosebumps. I don’t ever want to see anything like that ever again.
Panicked 911 calls have emerged detailing the horrifying moment a newborn baby was found in a dumpster in New Mexico. ‘We just found a baby in the god**n trash,’ the caller is heard saying. ‘He’s freezing cold and still has his umbilical cord attached’
Footage from the same camera caught the moment a heroic woman rescued the child
The dumpsters where April Meadow and her friends found baby Saul after he had been dumped there by his mother Alexis Avila
‘I thought, ‘that baby ain’t going to stay in a f**king trash sack, it’s going with me’. That blood, that lady’s blood – I didn’t care, I just wanted to hold the baby.
‘I started moving him around because he said to warm him up and he just started crying so I kissed him. I was trying to soothe him.’
All three testified at a detention hearing for Avila in Lovington, New Mexico, on Wednesday afternoon.
Meadow said: ‘I’m going to tell them what happened. How can you throw a baby away like trash? Take him to a hospital, take him somewhere if you don’t want him.’
All three have been lauded as heroes for their quick thinking, with Hobbs police chief August Fons praising their action during a press conference on Monday.
Green’s cousin, Shaylur Barry, has also set up a GoFundMe in the hopes of raising enough money to get him off the street and into a home of his own.
Avila is facing two felony counts of attempted murder and child abuse and was released on a $10,000 bond following her arrest on Monday. She is now under house arrest following a hearing on Wednesday.
The 18-year-old was seen in security footage pulling up at the dumpster around 2pm on Friday in her white Volkswagen Jetta before throwing her son into the trash and driving off.
According to a criminal complaint, the young mom told police she didn’t know she was pregnant and only realized when she began getting abdominal pains shortly before the birth.
When the baby – who has been named Saul by his 16-year-old father Stephen Astorga – arrived, she claimed she panicked, wrapped him in a towel and threw him away.
Saul is now recovering in hospital in Lubbock, Texas, and is being cared for by the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department.
His paternal grandfather Oscar Astorga, 50, has said he would like to raise the boy and is currently working on getting custody of the child.
Avila faces up to 15 years in jail if found guilty of attempted murder and child abuse.
On Tuesday, Avila’s mother spoke out for the first time – defending her daughter and telling DailyMail.com: ‘Everyone makes mistakes’.
Martha Avila, 47, said she had no idea her daughter was pregnant and added that news of the birth came as a shock.
The 47-year-old said her family does not plan to share their side of the story but a lawyer for Avila said they will make a statement following a detention hearing for their client on Wednesday afternoon.
Avila’s mother Martha, 47, defended her daughter and told DailyMail.com that the birth had come as ‘a shock’
Stephen Astorga’s father Oscar told DailyMail.com his family wants custody of the newborn
Martha added: ‘People can talk and give their opinion. Everybody makes mistakes. People can preach all they want, they can judge all they want but we only care about the judgment of one.’
Meanwhile, some of Avila’s friends have challenged her version of events, saying the teen mom was ‘open about her pregnancy’ at school.
Astorga’s version of events also clashes with Avila’s with a friend of the teen dad telling DailyMail.com that he had known she was pregnant but was told she miscarried after they split up in August 2021.
‘I heard her talk about being pregnant around late September, early October,’ the classmate said. ‘She never expressed that it was a bad thing that she was pregnant.’
Avila reportedly dropped out of high school on December 17. Hobbs High School refused to comment on her case.