A police source told Sunday Newsday investigators wanted the baby’s father to come forward.
“He is important to this investigation,” the source said. “The person knows himself and should step forward.” Investigators also want to find a relative who may have kept three teenaged children who lived in the house but were sent away for five months during which time it is believed baby Mercy died.
“The children had been away from the house and found it strange when they returned and were not hearing the baby. Our investigations revealed that when they questioned the mother, they were told that the baby was asleep and should ask no further questions.
It was then it was told to a relative,” the source said.
For five months single mother Natalie Richins, 40, was left alone with the baby who was born on February 8. When her older children returned, one of them questioned why the house was quiet and why there were no cries from the baby.
The teenager also observed a baby blanket with bones in a crib and told a relative who made a report to the police.
On November 10, Richins, er eldest daughter Nicolette Harry, 18, and two other children a girl, 16, and a boy, 13, were detained by officers of the La Brea Police Station and interrogated. The family was released on November 15 and the minors were placed in the care of their grandfather.
No charges were laid against Richins nor Harry.
Richins has since claimed she gave birth to baby Mercy and not Nicolette as has been reported. She denied the baby had died and insisted Mercy remains alive and well and will be eventually seen by the public. Claiming she could not have lived in a house for five months with the foul stench of a rotting corpse, Richins also denied that police officers ever found skeletal remains in her home.
Police are working on the theory that Mercy died some eight months ago after her birth and her death was never reported to the authorities.
Sunday Newsday was told the family is being supported by the police service’s Victim and Support Unit, Children’s Authority, Child Protection Unit and other agencies. Officers were expected to visit the family yesterday as investigations continued.