Around noon on Friday, September 28, 1990, a labourer at Nantycaws landfill in Carmarthenshire stumbled upon a disturbing find – a discovery that would trigger an extensive police investigation: a dismembered left leg of an infant.
Mike Lewis, the Carmarthen-man who made the gruesome discovery, said: “I had just got down from my machine for a break and I saw it, the child’s leg. It was just lying there, in the waste.
“It was a huge shock. I thought initially it was a limb from the hospital that came in with the waste. The remarkable thing was it seemed to be in perfect condition. It was the whole leg, sliced at the upper thigh, and cleanly cut.”
“I didn’t know what to do. I moved it a bit with a piece of slate so no-one would stand on it, then I went straight up to the office and phoned the authorities.”
Heddlu Dyfed-Powys Police officers swiftly arrived, cordoned off the landfill site, and initiated an extensive search of the vicinity.
The initial objective of the investigation was to determine whether any other remains of the infant were in close proximity. Donning face masks, they sifted through tons of decomposing waste.
After hours of meticulously combing through the malodorous mound, police officers failed to uncover any additional body parts. Now, the investigation faced the daunting task of addressing the lingering questions posed by this isolated limb: How had the leg ended up in the landfill, and, of utmost importance, to whom did the leg belong, and what had happened to the child?
Police quickly ascertained that the leg belonged to a female infant, just a few months old.
The police required additional information, aiming to uncover a complete list of individuals who had used the tip and details about their visits to the landfill. They believed that someone must have had knowledge of the child and, consequently, the circumstances leading to her severed leg being found in Nantycaws tip.
Each refuse truck driver underwent questioning, but no leads emerged. Local health authorities swiftly refuted the possibility of the limb originating from hospital waste.
Mike Lewis said: “The police were there for more than two weeks, they wanted to know what lorries had come in and from where. I think they were hoping to find the rest of the body, but they never did.”
As the news circulated throughout Carmarthenshire, rumours began to circulate, and it didn’t take long for local residents to start discussing the prospects of witchcraft and the potential involvement of ritualistic child-killing. Heddlu Dyfed-Powys Police downplayed these assertions but were unable to provide any alternative theories, except for confirming that the limb had been severed with a sharp instrument, likely an axe.
Speaking just a week after the grim discovery, Heddlu Dyfed-Powys Police Detective Superintendent Jeff Thomas appealed to the public for “anyone who may know of the sudden disappearance of a child to come forward”.
“We are asking the public to think about whether or not a baby girl in their street has gone missing.
“Somebody knows something.”
“This is not isolated to Dyfed – there is a possibility the refuse was collected from West Glamorgan or the M4 services.
“At this stage we don’t know whether the child was killed or died from some other cause and was dumped on the tip.
“We have conducted a thorough search, but I cannot say that we are 100% happy with the situation.”
The investigation extended beyond the local jurisdiction, with law enforcement agencies and social services from across the country delving into their records in a determined effort to unearth the truth about the enigmatic limb. Unfortunately, their efforts yielded no results.
Nearly thirty-three years have passed, and yet, we remain without any answers regarding the dismembered infant’s limb found at Nantycaws tip. When we inquired with Heddlu Dyfed-Powys Police about the events of September 1990 and whether they had conducted DNA testing on the limb in an attempt to identify the victim or any existing family members, their response was:
“Dyfed-Powys Police is reviewing and conducting enquiries in relation to the child’s body part that was discovered in September 1990 at the refuse tip at Nantycaws, Carmarthen.
“The investigation remains open and an unidentified case at this time. Dyfed-Powys Police will endeavour to attempt to identify the child and if successful informing and liaising with any familial relations remain the priority.”
In December 1989, a mere nine months before the unearthing of the infant’s remains at Nantycaws tip, the charred and severely mutilated body of a male baby was discovered on Redhills tip in Cumbria. This unfortunate child had suffered the loss of both legs.
Despite instigating the most extensive murder investigation in Cumbria’s history, the identity of the child remains unknown, and the circumstances surrounding both infant deaths remain shrouded in mystery.