While DuPage County officials continue to work to solve the case of a dead newborn, they paused Thursday to attend a memorial service of her short life at a graveside ceremony in Wheaton.
About 40 people, mostly members of law enforcement headed by Sheriff John Zaruba, offered prayers for the little girl whose body was found in a backpack on a wooded drive in Wheaton last month. She has yet to be identified.
The officers stood as the Rev. Daniel Hoehn of St. Michael Catholic Church in Wheaton said prayers for the child, whom police have lovingly named “Baby Hope”. Many came out to St. Michael Cemetery to pay their respect for the infant, including State’s Attorney Robert Berlin and Coroner Richard Jorgensen.
After the prayers, the sheriff’s honor guard and other attendees lined up to place roses beside the tiny coffin, which was then lowered into ground.
St. Michael Cemetery is about a half mile away from where the little girl’s body was found on Aug. 15. The baby, who police say was of white, Hispanic or Asian descent, was found with a brown bathroom rug and a brown cloth toilet seat cover. Although an autopsy was conducted last month, the cause of death is not yet known.
Police have searched for the mother, but have yet to find her. They appeal to the public for assistance and wish to remind people that Illinois has a safe-haven law. This law, states unharmed infants who would otherwise be abandoned can be left at designated safe haven places such as hospitals, police and fire stations.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the DuPage County sheriff’s office at (630) 407-2400 or text anonymously at 274637 with the word SHERIFF and your message.