The remains of an infant believed to be less than 1 year old were found on the tree line outside of McKnight Plaza on Thursday, a Columbia Police Department spokesperson said.

“As a parent myself, this is very difficult. It’s a very difficult situation, for everyone involved, including the investigating officers and detectives, and our community as a whole,” Assistant Chief Jeremiah Hunter said at a news conference on the scene.

Police have not yet confirmed the gender of the child, nor the cause of death, nor whether the child was deceased prior to arriving at McKnight Plaza.

Authorities received a call reporting the incident around 11:40 a.m. after a person working on the property found the child, said Steven Sapp, the department spokesperson.

At this time, the case is not being treated as a criminal investigation, Sapp said.

Those with any information pertaining to the investigation can call the department at 874-7423.

On Thursday afternoon, a Missourian reporter observed a large area between McKnight Tire, 1909 Providence Road, and the adjacent woods blocked off with police tape, as well as two police vehicles at the scene. McKnight was open for business at the time.

This is the third time human remains have been found in Columbia in the past three weeks. On July 26, police found the remains of Glen O’Neal near I-70 Drive Southwest and Silvey Street. Another body was found on July 29 in the back parking lot of Furniture Row on Lake Ridgeway Road, according to previous Missourian reporting.

Supervising editor is Libby Stanford.

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