The baby, Janet Barnicoat, was eventually adopted and grew up about 100 miles from that alley.
WATCH: A woman said she found Janet Barnicoat abandoned as a baby by a dumpster in Lawndale, California, in 1986.
It was early morning in 1981, when a young woman in Lawndale, California, called police to report discovering a baby in a paper grocery bag next to a dumpster in a nearby alley.
They responded to find a newborn, just hours old, wrapped in a towel with her umbilical cordstill attached. She was left with no note or ID to tell where she came from, and no one ever claimed her.
Barnicoat said she always knew she was adopted but didn’t learn the story about her past until around the time she entered junior high school.
“I got really mad and angry [at my birth mother], and I held onto that for quite a long time,” Barnicoat told ABC News’ “20/20.” “How do you leave your child in a paper bag in an alleyway? It felt like, you know, she tossed me away. You put me next to a dumpster. It was tearing me up inside.”
“There was questions of, ‘Do I have siblings? Who are my parents? Why was I adopted? Why didn’t they want me?'” Barnicoat added.
As she got older, Barnicoat joined the navy, became a partner in her father’s barbershop and later had a family of her own. But as a mother to her five children, Barnicoat said she found it incomprehensible that someone could leave their child, only hours old, in an alley.
“Once having my own children, you know, you figure out what that natural, true love is. And I just couldn’t understand how she didn’t have that for me,” Barnicoat said.
As an abandoned baby, or foundling, Barnicoat has no birth certificate and no idea who her birth parents were. So Barnicoat went searching for the woman who had called the police to report finding her by the dumpster, hoping she would have any clues about her past. She posted about her search for the Good Samaritan on Facebook and finally met her in 2013.