Police were investigating a fetus found next to a trash bin behind a Hawthorne business Friday morning.
The discovery was reported about 7:30 a.m. in a parking lot behind a laundromat at 5041 W. El Segundo Blvd. (map), according to the Hawthorne Police Department.
Special victims investigators determined that the fetus was between 15 and 18 weeks old, and possibly dumped there earlier Friday.
A homeless man made the grim discovery while searching the dumpster for a winter coat. The owner of the laundromat called police to report the fetus, which was on the ground and about the size of his palm.
Police were trying to figure out whether a crime was committed.
"We're not sure yet because we haven't really established whether there was a viable life yet," Hawthorne Police Lt. Jim Royer said. "I'm assuming that's going to be done by the coroner at which time it could go from this investigation into an actual death investigation."
Investigators planned to look at video from nearby surveillance cameras.
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Police asked anyone with information about the mother to come forward.