A teenager is facing criminal charges after a toddler was found abandoned in a recycling bin in a north Winnipeg neighbourhood early Thursday.

The 19-month-girl was found partially dressed in freezing temperatures by a man who attended a New Year’s Eve party at the home where the child lives.

Robert Keno, 20, told CTV Winnipeg he was heading home at 6 a.m. when he heard the child crying inside the recycling bin.

When Keno lifted the lid and saw the little girl, “my heart dropped,” he said.

He said the child was wearing only diaper and tights.

“She was looking up at me and I went and grabbed her, pulled her out,” a visibly emotional Keno recalled.

The toddler was taken to hospital in life-threatening condition, which has since been upgraded to stable.

Keno said he had become belligerent after drinking heavily at the party and was asked to leave.

Shortly after, a 17-year-old male picked up the toddler at the party and left the house, then allegedly threw the child in the recycling bin.

“When I picked her up I could see that she was swollen,” Keno said, adding that it was a “sobering moment” for him.

Police believe the toddler was in the bin for 15-30 minutes.

Investigators now say the girl was injured when the accused 17-year-old fell on top of her as he left the party with her in his arms.

“This could have been much more tragic than it already is,” Winnipeg Police Const. Eric Hofley said.

Keno’s next-door neighbour Wendy Laird said she awoke to the sound of screaming girls, who police say may have been searching for the toddler.

Laird said it was terrifying to learn that a toddler had been dumped.

“I’m just praying that that baby makes it and (that) it was an accident,” Laird said.

The accused teen is in custody and facing numerous charges, including causing bodily harm by criminal negligence, abandoning a child and assault.

He is also accused of assaulting a 13-year-old girl after abandoning the child and returning to the party.

With a report by CTV Winnipeg’s Beth Macdonell