POLICE say they are "closing in" on the parents of newborn baby Alia, whose body was dumped in a plastic bag in Lostock.

More than 20 officers are trawling through potential DNA matches, tracking down people who bought a shirt like the one in which Alia was wrapped and looking at lists of girls absent from school at the time of the baby’s discovery.

They are still hoping to find the key to solving the case a year after Alia was found by dog walkers in Ox Hey Lane, Lostock, on Thursday, March 14.

Extensive appeals to trace the parents of the baby girl, who police gave the name Alia, meaning beautiful, have been fruitless.

Det Insp Aaron Duggan, the leading officer in the case, told Bolton Coroners Court that strides had been made in obtaining the identity of the parents

He said: “I remain optimistic and confident through lines of enquiry that if the answer is there then we will find the mother through a relative.

"That’s dependent on a relative of hers being in contact with the police.

“I can’t speculate as to why the mother hasn’t come forward.

"It would be extremely difficult for her to talk about what she has been through, compunded by the fact Alia died and the grieving process.

"It will have been a traumatic time. If she is found she will have to be spoken to about what happened and a decision will be made about what the outcome will be.”

Baby Alia was found wrapped in a Flora & Fauna Tesco shirt, and police have spoken to and eliminated 50 people who bought such shirts from the area - there is only one person on the list left to speak to.

Lists of school girls who were absent from lessons in Bolton around the time of the grim discovery have been analysed.

Twenty of a possible 32 students, who were pregnant or were off with possible pregnancy related problems have been spoken to so far.

Det Insp Duggan said police have identified 11 people who have links with the father’s DNA, and they still have two left to find.

No matches for the mother were found on the police national database for Greater Manchester or Lancashire or on an immigration database, but 100 people have been found in a national search, and police are now prioritising the list.

He added: “You need particular knowledge for that location, Ox Hey Lane. Although it’s remote it’s incredibly busy with dog walkers, people cutting through it to get to Bolton Wanderers.

"Whoever placed Alia wanted her to be found. Whoever placed her cared about her as she was left in clothing and with a note. It’s tragic.”

Coroner Alan Walsh granted the police more time to investigate the baby’s death.

Mr Walsh said: “Sadly baby Alia had a very short life. I encourage members of the public to reflect what might have been happening 12 months ago and come forward with any information.”

He added: “I share the concern of the police for Alia’s mother.”

Alia’s ethnicity and her cause of death have not been established.

A further pre-inquest review will be held in June.

Anyone with information about Alia’s parents can call police on 0161 8565448, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.