At first, it appeared to be a doll lying on a step, outside the fence of a house in the 3000 block of Channing Street NE.
But something didn't seem right to Emmanuel Dugger, a neighbor walking by just before 11:30 p.m. Sunday, and he ran to get his father, Eugene.
"I was in shock, so I had to grab somebody else to make sure I wasn't seeing things," he said.
What they found wasn't a doll, but a baby girl, left naked and partially covered by a thin towel. It was 25 degrees at the time.
"I picked her arms up to make sure she wasn't frozen stiff," Eugene Dugger said. "And she wasn't frozen stiff, but she wasn't far from it."
The girl's skin had started to change color.
The Duggers brought the baby inside, and a 911 operator got someone to talk Eugene Dugger through the administration of CPR, moving her from the dining room table onto the floor, until police and EMS arrived.
Rescue workers then worked on the baby in the house for awhile before transporting her to Children's National Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead about three hours later.
Emmanuel Dugger rode in the ambulance with her.
Her cause of death is unknown at this time, police said, and they are still searching for her parents. Although she was found outside of a home, the residents don't have a connection.
"We just keep thinking, if you don't want to care for a child, there's places [to bring them]," said Ian Milne, who lives in that house. "I mean, even a knock on the door.... It was freezing last night."
The baby's age was somewhere between newborn and one month old. Eugene Dugger said he thought she was two or three weeks old.
Police are continuing to investigate. They are also knocking on doors, asking neighborhood residents if they knew of anyone who had been pregnant recently.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the police at 202-727-9099 888-919-CRIME. Additionally, anonymous information may be submitted to the department's TEXT TIP LINE by texting their tip to 50411.
"It tore me apart," said Emmanuel Dugger. "I couldn't get to sleep last night. It tore me apart. I have two kids of my own."
SAFE HAVEN LAW
The District of Columbia has a safe haven law that permits parents to surrender babies (up to seven days old) at a safe place, such as a firehouse or hospital, if they're unable to care for them.
There is a toll-free crisis hotline reachable at 888-510-BABY.