Left in a Walton County dumpster in 1992 as a newborn, man now seeks pieces of his past

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David Rhodes. Contributed photo

David Michael Rhodes, 25, from Woodstock, Ga., had a normal life growing up. He graduated from Milton High School in 2011, spent some time attending Georgia State College and, up until very recently, was employed as a warehouse manager.

But he always felt something was just a little “off,” according to his girlfriend, Olivia Skiba. He found out just what that was when he turned 21. That was when his mother told him he was adopted. David is biracial, but with parents of different races everything seemed to fit.

“His adoptive mother is white, and his adoptive father is black, which is why he didn’t find out he was adopted until later,” Skiba said.

But that wasn’t all. Rhodes found out that his birth was something that made the national news, and not in a good way. He was even featured in a 48 Hours documentary. As a newborn, on Sept. 18, 1992, Rhodes was found in a dumpster at the EZ Stop on Highway 81 in the Loganville area of Walton County. He was wrapped in cellophane, with the placenta, and put in a garbage bag.

“He was found at 9:30 a.m. and was apparently in there less than an hour,” Skiba said. “The case was worked as attempted murder.”

David Rhodes, as a young child. Contributed photo

The fact that he survived is a miracle on its own, but now Rhodes would like to find those pieces of his past that he knows are out there somewhere.

“He is trying to find any possible relatives,” Skiba said. “Maybe even find doctors, police, nurses who were working during this time would be cool.”

Skiba said Rhodes was known as Baby Boy Doe to the local police.

“His first birth certificate says his name is “Foundling” and his place of birth as the EZ Stop. We also have the hospital records that say he was clean from any drugs or diseases,” Skiba said. She said his mother remembers seeing the story on the news and saying ‘Oh my God, we are trying to have a child and people are just throwing them away.’ And then they got the call about David.”

Kathy Rhodes is supportive of her son’s attempts to find his biological roots.

David Rhodes with his adoptive mother, Kathy. Contributed photo

“Well, I think it’s important to know where you come from and who you look like. It’s important to know your roots and medical history,” she said. “He’s an adult now and deserves to know what happened all those years ago.”

Skiba said they believe a woman named Belle Ivie who worked at the convenience store found him and ripped the bag open, but they believe she has passed at this point. In doing some research, they have found out it was actually a man who first noticed the bag in the dumpster and reported it to Ivie, but they aren’t sure of his name. Someone has told them his name was Richy Robertson.

The television special featuring the case was 48 Hours: Throwaway Kids and it ran on CBS on Jan. 27, 1993. It had pictures of “Baby Boy Doe” in an incubator at the hospital as well as the bag that he was found in.

Now as an adult, Rhodes has an adopted sister as well as an older half-sister by his adoptive father, but he really would like to find out if he has biological relatives out there, maybe even his father or mother.
David Rhodes as a young boy with his half-sister from his adoptive father’s side of the family. Contributed photo

“Really, I’m looking to see if there is anyone out there who is a blood relative, just a family member. My adopted sister found her family a couple of years ago, but it was easier for her as my mom knew who they were,” Rhodes said. While he said he doesn’t really harbor ill will towards his biological mother, because he knows it was a different time in Walton County back then, he said he would like to get some answers on why and what the circumstances were that led her to make that choice. His girlfriend is doing all she can to help him in his search.

“I want him to be able to find a relative because I’m currently studying child development and I genuinely feel like him being left alone at minutes old has affected him in more ways than he understands,” she said “He will be doing ancestryDNA as well as 23and me. Our only hope with the DNA search is finding a cousin or relative. Because what happened was illegal, I don’t foresee his birth parents willingly giving DNA.”
Before telling Rhodes the circumstances of his birth, his mother did call the Walton County Sheriff’s Office to see if there had been any developments, but there were not any at that time. However, Michael Rising, cold case investigator for WCSO, has pulled the case file and has some information that may well help.
“Looking it over, the Sheriff’s Office did considerable work to identify the parents,” Rising said, going on to note that in the light of Rhodes’s search, the case has been reopened to document any additional efforts made by WCSO.
If you have any information that can help in this search, you are asked to contact Walton County Cold Case Investigator Michael Rising at 770-266-1558 and leave a message or email Michael.rising@co.walton.ga.us. All contacts will be kept confidential.
(Editor’s Note: We have shared photos of David Rhodes at various stages of his life in hopes that maybe someone will see a family likeness somewhere.)
David Rhodes. Contributed photo
David Rhodes. Contributed photo

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