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Report: No evidence children were thrown into Delaware River

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Agencies have suspended a search for children reported in Delaware River
  • A woman told a nurse she threw her newborn off a bridge into the river
  • She told another nurse she threw two other children from the bridge
  • The search went on for more than eight hours

(CNN) -- The Coast Guard said Tuesday that its crews and other agencies have suspended the search for three children a woman claims she threw off a bridge into the Delaware River overnight.

Delaware River Port Authority officials said there was "no evidence" to support the woman's claim, the Cherry Hill New Jersey Courier-Post reported.

"We have no evidence of any activity of that type on our bridge during the hours in question," the Courier-Journal quoted authority spokesman Ed Kasuba as saying. Kasuba added that the bridge is under constant surveillance.

Authorities called off the search at 12:25 p.m. after searching 10 square miles for more than eight hours, the Coast Guard said.

Crews from Coast Guard Station Philadelphia; Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, New Jersey; Camden Police and Fire Departments; Delaware River Port Authority; New Jersey State Police; Philadelphia Fire and Rescue; and Philadelphia Marine Police aided in the search, a Coast Guard statement said. They focused on an area of the Delaware River near the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, the Coast Guard said, which connects Camden, New Jersey, and Philadelphia.

A nurse at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, called the Coast Guard just before 4 a.m. to say a woman told her she had given birth about 3:35 a.m. and threw her baby into the river, a Coast Guard statement said.

The woman told another nurse that she threw her 2-year-old and 4-year-old children from a bridge into the water, the statement said.

Kasuba told the Courier-Post the bridge's walkways are closed overnight. If the woman had driven a car and stopped on the bridge, Kasuba said, she would have had to cross over the PATCO High Speed Line rail on the bridge to get to the walkway.

"Somebody would have seen it," Kasuba was quoted as saying.

The whereabouts of the woman, whom the Coast Guard identified as Michelle "Shelly" Perez, are unknown.