Memorial service brings closure in case of mystery baby death

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

A sense of closure

A public memorial service will be held Wednesday, August 7, for the infant child who was found dead at the Harold Rowley Recycling Center on May 30.

The Buena Vista County Sheriff's Department is planning the committal service, to be held at the Storm Lake Cemetery on Wednesday, August 7, at 10:30 a.m.

Fratzke & Jensen Funeral Home in Storm Lake is providing the arrangements and the casket, and the county board of supervisors is donating the burial plot for the baby. Two ministers from different local churches will be arranged to share the service.

The baby's identity is still unknown, and Eddy said he is not yet certain whether the grave will be marked as a "Baby Doe." An investigation has failed to turn up the parents, the cause of death, or the circumstances to explain how the baby came to be discarded in the trash somewhere in the county, later to show up in a recycling line chute at the rural Storm Lake recycling plant. The case has caused intense national scrutiny, most recently a two-page spread in People magazine last week and several network television interviews focusing on the debate over efforts to force Planned Parenthood to release pregnancy test records in hopes of locating the child's mother. That issue remains up for grabs in the court system.

For Buena Vista County Sheriff Chuck Eddy, the burial ceremony is an opportunity for some closure.

"The baby needs a resting place. Beyond the investigation, this is a human being. It is also important to the community and to everyone who has been involved with the case to be able to say a goodbye to the child," Eddy said. "Other than finding the mother, this is the best thing we can do to being some closure for the people who found the baby, the officers who has investigated the case and everyone else who has been impacted or put under stress by this tragedy. Everyone is welcome to the ceremony, and then we will all be able to get on with our lives somewhat."

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