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Indiana could become the first US state to introduce baby boxes – anonymous drop-off points designed to prevent the deaths of abandoned infants.

Many states allow parents to hand over infants at public facilities, but the boxes have not been used in the US.

The boxes offer people who will not give up a child in person an alternative to abandonment or infanticide, proponents say.

They have been criticized in Europe and Asia, where they are more common.

Elizabeth Throssell, a spokeswoman for United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, urges countries to provide family planning and other support to address the root causes of abandonments, like poverty, instead.

Other concerns over baby boxes include the need for medical care provided at safe haven sites like hospitals or police stations. The involvement of a trained professional at the point of handover can also help assess whether the mother simply needs financial support or other help.

Since 1999, a number of US states have passed “safe haven” laws that allow parents to surrender newborns at hospitals, police stations and other facilities without fear of prosecution, so long as the child hasn’t been harmed.Indiana baby boxes 2015

Republican politician Casey Cox, who authored the bill, says baby boxes are a natural progression of such laws. The Indiana House overwhelmingly passed the bill this week. It is now being considered by the state senate.

Supporters of the bill hope that about one hundred boxes could be deployed by July 2015. According to Save the Abandoned Babies Foundation, nearly two-thirds of those illegally abandoned die.

Baby boxes, also known as baby hatches or angel cradles, originated in medieval times when convents were equipped with revolving doors known as “foundling wheels”.

Baby hatches are so popular in Asian countries in particular that they have even become the subject of a new documentary called The Drop Box, which follows the efforts of a pastor in Seoul, South Korea, to address child abandonment.

In China local authorities have been so overwhelmed by abandonments in recent years that they have restricted the use of the boxes or closed them entirely.

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Seven female bodies have been recovered in Indiana as suspect Darren Vann confessed to a recent murder and led authorities to more.

Darren Vann, 43, confessed to strangling a woman whose body was found at a local motel on October 17.

He directed authorities to at least three other bodies, while three more were found over the weekend.

The body of Afrikka Hardy, 19, was found at a Motel 6 on October 17. She was reportedly strangled.

A police official has said Afrikka Hardy was involved in prostitution and met Darren Vann at the motel. Authorities were contacted by someone attempting to but unable to reach the victim.

A second victim has been identified as Anith Jones, 35, though tests to determine cause of death have yet to be performed on her or the other unidentified victims.

Seven female bodies have been recovered in Indiana as suspect Darren Vann confessed to a recent murder and led authorities to more

Seven female bodies have been recovered in Indiana as suspect Darren Vann confessed to a recent murder and led authorities to more

Anith Jones, missing since October 8, was found in an abandoned home.

Officials say Darren Vann confessed during an interview and told police where several other victims were located.

Investigators have yet to say how he knew the victims or offer a motive in the attacks.

On October 20, Hammond, Indiana, Police Chief John Doughty informed reporters Darren Vann had told investigators he may have killed people for up to two decades.

John Doughty also said the victims discovered over the weekend had all been killed recently, but he did not stipulate whether there may be more murders unaccounted for.

The mayor of Gary, Indiana said Darren Vann had previously been convicted of s** crimes in Texas in 2009.

It is unclear how long Darren Vann has been in Indiana, or if more bodies will be found as the investigation continues.

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