Ann Woods was drying clothes in the basement laundry room of her building at the Summit Hills apartments in Silver Spring Sunday morning when she heard a baby crying. When she couldn't find the child, who she thought might have been trapped in the clothes chute, she called police. Police found a naked, newborn boy in a heavy plastic bag, under empty detergent and bleach containers, in a trash bin.

"The baby was discarded, not abandoned," Montgomery police spokesman Philip Caswell said yesterday. Unlike a newborn girl left in a car in Gaithersburg in March, Caswell said, "in this case, the intent appears to be that they didn't want the baby found. The trash from that bin was collected today."

"It was total horror," said Woods, the mother of an 18-year-old son. "I just can't imagine anyone who would do that."

Investigators interviewed scores of residents of the apartment complex in the 8500 block of 16th Street yesterday for clues about the abandoned black or Hispanic boy.

Caswell said the parents, if located, could be prosecuted for criminal violations as serious as attempted murder.

The 7-pound, 4-ounce boy was resting comfortably at Holy Cross Hospital yesterday. "He's a very healthy baby," said hospital spokesman Tom Burke.

Juvenile Court Judge John C. Tracey ordered that the boy, who has been named William Edward Doe, be placed in a foster home as soon as he is well enough to be released from the hospital.

Brenda Georgette Ehrlich, the court-decreed name for the infant abandoned in Gaithersburg March 3, is living at a pre-adoption home in the county. Jean Royer of the county social services department said the baby will be brought back to circuit court soon for formal adoption.

Montgomery County Detective Wilfried Stuehmeier said they have been unable to locate the girl's mother, who police said would not be prosecuted.

"The closest we came was a teen-ager who lived in a car and had been pregnant," said Stuehmeier. "It turned out that she had a baby at about the same time that the girl was abandoned, but she had placed her baby up for adoption."