Commander Justin Fleeman, Detective Henry Bravo, and Sergeant James Newell donated $700 to see that the infant is buried with fitting reverence.
The Kern County Sheriff's officers conducted a month-long search for the mother of the child, whose lifeless body had been discarded in a trash cash in Oildale, California, on June 21. But the mandatory 30-day search came up empty.
The child will be buried alongside two other abandoned babies in a newly established “Garden of Innocence,” an area set apart exclusively for the burial of children who died under such circumstances.
Commander Fleeman suggested the three cover the expenses, saying, “It's just the right thing to do.”
“Everybody deserves a burial,” Bravo agreed. “The way it was just thrown in the dumpster, it was not right.” Bravo told KGET-TV a case like this “shocks the conscious” of “the entire community” in this Bakersfield suburb.
Sgt. Newell felt contributing to the fund was his “duty” as a decent human being.
Union Cemetery also donated 1,200 square feet to the project.
The services will be provided by the local chapter of a national organization known as Garden of Innocence, which says it exists to “provide a dignified burial for abandoned and unidentified children.”
Once police relinquish custody of the body to the group's members, they provide a memorial service and casket. Every child is given a name, then buried with a stuffed toy and a poem written especially for each one.
With a growing rash of babies being thrown into trash cans, dumpsters, or flushed down toilets, the group has established chapters around the country. Its San Diego affiliate alone has buried 130 abandoned babies since May 1999.
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Their efforts seemed to have brought peace and closure to this case. Reggie Groves, the man who discovered the baby's body in a trash can, said the plan to have her buried is “perfect.”