02/16/06 — Rest in peace, Baby Jane Doe

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Rest in peace, Baby Jane Doe

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on February 16, 2006 2:08 PM

A nameless tiny baby girl -- who will never know her mother or her family, who will never go to school, who will never play with friends or who will never marry -- was buried Wednesday in Willowdale Cemetery.

About 30 mourners, including many Goldsboro police officers, attended the brief funeral which was conducted by the Rev. Dr. Rick Cason, the police chaplain.

The infant was found last week in a lift station in the Goldsboro sewer system behind a truck repair shop.

The identity of the baby, her mother and even her race remain a mystery that police are trying to solve.

A preliminary autopsy report indicated that the baby girl was born after about 26 or 27 weeks, or almost three months premature, said police Investigator Chad Calloway. He did not know if the child was born alive or dead.

A complete autopsy report will not be available from the state Medical Examiner's Office in Chapel Hill for several more weeks, police said. Calloway said an official cause of death might not be available without the public's help.

Police Chief Tim Bell said his investigators have been looking for a woman who might have been pregnant, then wasn't and had no baby. He said police have followed several leads on that situation, to no avail.

Bell said the funeral brought closure to the baby's life, but added the service also will keep the death in the public eye. He said the investigation will continue.

When the child was found, Bell went to the scene and said, "You could tell the child had nobody to care for her."

Anyone with information on the birth and death should call Investigator M.K. Horstmann at 580-4213 or Goldsboro-Wayne County Crime Stoppers at 735-2255. Callers may remain anonymous.

Another mourner said the state now has help for mothers of unwanted children.

"This (death) did not have to happen," said Colleen Kosinski, the 8th Judicial District manager of the Guardian ad Litem program, who attended the service.

Mrs. Kosinski noted that the state's "safe-surrender" law allows a birth mother to give up an unwanted child without any questions being asked. The child may be left with a responsible adult at a hospital, doctor's office, health or social services department or at a law-enforcement agency.

The baby's tiny coffin was donated by Shumate-Faulk Funeral Home.

"We wanted to make sure that she was taken care of," owner Ven Faulk said.

Liz Barnes, the supervisor of the cemetery, said fees for the opening and closing of the grave also were donated.

Ms. Barnes opened the service by leading the mourners in singing all verses of "Jesus Loves Me This I Know."

Doris Petrak of Goldsboro then read a poem, expressing how the child will miss out on all joyous occasions of her life, but she said she is now an angel with God.

Dr. Cason, the pastor of Victory Free Will Baptist Church, quoted the hymn "Jesus Loves the Little Children" and then Scripture verses from the 10th chapter of Mark.

Now the little girl "is home with her heavenly Father," he said.