10/12/2011 04:34 EDT | Updated 12/12/2011 05:12 EST

Baby's body found along Fraser River near Vancouver; police seek mother

VANCOUVER - A homicide investigation has begun after a tugboat crew found a dead baby boy inside a log boom on the Fraser River in Burnaby.

John Bowles, manager of Harken Towing, said two people aboard the 11-metre Harken No. 9 discovered the boy while delivering a load of logs to a storage area on the north arm of the Fraser River about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.

"He was floating inside a log boom, not one of the ones they were towing but one that was in the log-storage already," said Bowles.

Sgt. Jennifer Pound of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said the crew wasn't sure at first what they had found.

"They initially had thought the baby was a toy or doll of some sort," said Pound. "And then upon a closer look they realized that it was a baby and at that point the police were called in."

Pound said while the boy appears to be a newborn, she couldn't give any details until an autopsy is done. Meanwhile, she said police need to find the mother.

"I think our main message at this point is to reach out to the mother of the baby," she said.

"We know that this must have been very traumatizing for her. She needs to be medically assessed. We don't know if she's by herself or if she's got support or any of those details."

Pound asked anybody who knows anything about the boy or feels there is something suspicious about someone who has recently given birth to call the IHIT tip line.

Bowles said the tugboat's crew members were traumatized when they got off work at about 3 a.m.

He said while tugboat crews have found bodies over the years, he's not aware of workers ever finding the body of an infant, and the company will offer counselling services if the employees require them.