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Abortion victim Philomena Grace© 2020 Missy Reilly Smith and WAKE UP. All rights reserved

TOWSON, Maryland (LifeSiteNews) – Philomena Grace lived a dramatic life because she died a shocking death. The day before Thanksgiving 2019 – Wednesday, November 27 – a cleaning employee at the Ruby Tuesday restaurant in Upper Marlboro, Maryland found Philomena’s body in a ladies’ room toilet.

Philomena’s death is brutal, heartbreaking truth, but her photo and her story are beautiful proof to help us save other children’s lives.

We know Philomena Grace because of Miss Mel Davis. Mel faithfully prays for the end of abortion and she heard about Philomena’s body in the toilet on a police scanner. Mel immediately called Missy Reilly Smith, foundress of WAKE UP, which is based in Washington, D.C. Mel called Missy because WAKE UP stands for Women Against the Killing & Exploitation of Unprotected Persons. For 20 years, Missy has prayed outside of abortion facilities and asked mothers to bring their children into the world. If need be, Missy leads the mothers to pregnancy help centers and she tells them about adoption options.

As soon as Missy learned about the little victim, she decided to claim the baby’s body for a Christian funeral and burial. She named the baby “Philomena” after the wonderworker Catholic saint and “Grace” after a former abortion worker who returned to the Catholic Church.

Since the Supreme Court’s 1973 rulings on Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, untold millions of children have died in obscurity under the pretense that abortion is a private decision between women and their doctors.

Jack Ames, director of Defend Life in Baltimore, joined Missy in the noble mission of telling the world that Philomena Grace shouldn’t be a nameless, faceless tragedy. At Philomena’s October 17 funeral, Missy and Jack became Philomena’s godparents.

The plight of seeking justice

Prince George’s County Police and other first responders went to Ruby Tuesday’s and homicide investigator Detective Mark Rimkus was assigned to the case.

Someone at the Police Department issued a Twitter alert on Nov. 27 asking for help to find the baby’s mother to “ensure she is well.”

“We are concerned she may be in need of medical attention,” says the tweet.

In Maryland, the Medical Examiner must investigate the cause of each person’s death before his or her body is given to a mortician for internment.

Detective Rimkus was deeply grieved by this tragedy, but Maryland law enforcement officials may not seek justice because the law empowers abortionists and protects them. In fact, § 20-209 lets abortionists pronounce the child’s age of so-called viability, and “The physician is not liable for civil damages or subject to a criminal penalty for a decision to perform an abortion under this section made in good faith and in the physician’s best medical judgment in accordance with accepted standards of medical practice.”

Police observed official procedures, they found Philomena’s mother, and of course she didn’t want her daughter’s body.

The Medical Examiner next sent Philomena’s body to Maryland’s Anatomy Board, where close to two thousand bodies are abandoned a year to suffer uncertain fates. Thus, Missy explained: “I was worried that Philomena’s body would be cremated or desecrated for lab experiments. However, every mortician that I called refused to take Philomena’s body for safekeeping until we could arrange the funeral and burial. Jack found Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home in Baltimore, and their experts graciously advised me how to legally claim Philomena’s body.”

On Friday, January 24, 2020 – the same day as the March for Life in Washington – Missy got a sudden, rush notice that the morticians must take Philomena’s body within 18 hours. A Mitchell-Wiedefeld employee swiftly rescued little Philomena, but he doesn’t want credit for it. At the funeral home, Jack took the photo of Philomena and he was shocked because she looked like a full-term baby. The sight of Philomena’s dead body is still so traumatic to Jack that he won’t discuss it.

Abortion victim Philomena Grace. (Photo © 2020 Missy Reilly Smith and WAKE UP. All rights reserved.)

Missy had to request Philomena’s autopsy many times and she couldn’t get it until late summer. It says Philomena’s body weighed 830 grams, which is almost 1.83 pounds. On July 20, 2020 – eight months after Philomena’s death – Associate Pathologist Francesco Pontoriero, D.O., Assistant Medical Examiner Russell Alexander, M.D., and Interim Chief Medical Examiner Pamela Southall, M.D. signed the autopsy and confirmed that Philomena is an abortion victim.

In part, they wrote: “Per report, on 11/27/19 cleaning staff at a restaurant found the body of this fetus with attached umbilical cord and placenta floating in a blood filled toilet covered by paper towels and sanitary napkins. Emergency medical services responded and pronounced the fetus deceased at the scene.

“An investigation by law enforcement revealed that the mother of the fetus came to a Washington D.C. clinic for a 3-day abortion procedure starting on 11/25/19. The fetus was estimated to be at ~ 25 weeks gestation by the clinic. She had medication administered to dilate her cervix on 11/26/19 with the plan to remove the fetus the next day,” they continued.

“Reportedly, the mother went to dinner at the restaurant and had cramps. She went to the bathroom for what she thought was a bowel movement. She then delivered the fetus into the toilet. She stated that she did not note the fetus to move, breathe or make a sound.”

At first, Philomena’s funeral was scheduled for April, and Detective Rimkus planned to attend with his wife. All along, he encouraged Missy to claim Philomena’s body and lay her to rest. In a March 8 message to Missy, he wrote: “The first thing I’d like to do is congratulate you on your success. Your perseverance and determination are an inspiration.”


“If you don’t mind I would like to attend the Mass. To see something positive come out of this travesty would be spiritually refreshing. This is the fourth or fifth baby case like this that I’ve had to deal with and it can be emotionally exhausting. Thank you for keeping me informed.”

Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan had imposed a COVID-19 lockdown on houses of worship from March 1 until May 15. So, by the time Philomena’s funeral was re-scheduled for October 17, Detective Rimkus and his wife were not able to attend.

Valiant priests call us to action

Father Edward Meeks, generous pastor of Christ the King Catholic Church in Towson, Maryland, hosted Philomena’s funeral and laid her to rest in the parish cemetery. He is a Catholic priest of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, and his wife Jan, the office manager, is equally generous.


Essentially Father didn’t want a media extravaganza, so he requested that Missy and Jack keep the funeral private and sacred. At least 65 born people attended, plus one in-utero.

The priests who concelebrated Philomena Grace’s funeral Mass are Bishop Joseph Coffey of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA; Father Meeks; and Father William Kuchinsky, pastor of Saint Bernadette Catholic Church in Hedgesville, West Virginia.


Bishop Coffey and Father Kuchinsky are known for their individual ministries of helping to save lives and souls by leading prayer vigils outside of abortion facilities.

Now, Father Meeks is famous for the video of his Sunday, October 11 homily about the presidential election. He explains our “dire” times and why Americans shouldn’t vote for Joe Biden, who campaigns as a Catholic while he threatens to codify Roe v. Wade.

At Philomena’s funeral, Bishop Coffey thanked Father for his timely and necessary warning. He also said America must overturn Roe v. Wade and he prayed for the Supreme Court to do it soon.


This election year Father Meeks can speak freely because President Donald Trump kept his 2016 campaign promise to nix the IRS Johnson Amendment that bans religious ministers and other nonprofit leaders from telling the truth about politicians. President Trump issued an executive order, but if the majority of Americans vote for Biden, again the federal government will be allowed to prosecute priests, bishops, and religious sisters.

Pray, work and vote for justice

We can’t bring beautiful Philomena or other abortion victims back to life, but in their honor we can pray, work, and vote for justice.


In 2019, 64.9 million Americans were counted as Catholics. This means we have tremendous power, so please let’s not waste it.

Voting is so crucial that The Catechism of the Catholic Church places it under Christ’s commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. The Church says men and women have the duties “to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country” and “fulfill their roles in the life of the political community.” See paragraphs 2238-2240.

Christ makes each and every one of us for eternal life with Him. At Philomena’s funeral Mass, we prayed for her mother and father to seek the mercy of God. Under the commandments of Christ, the Catholic Church invites all people responsible for abortions to repent. Nevertheless, again I stress the importance of sharing Philomena’s story and photo because abortion victims can’t be un-killed.

Watch Philomena’s funeral Mass

Jim Althoff shot video of the Mass.

Friends and workers for WAKE UP and Defend Life were there, including me. Many Christ the King parishioners served us at the Mass and reception. John Roswell, the leader of Sidewalk Advocates for Life in Baltimore, went. Cathy Roth was there. She arranges Catholic Masses outside of LeRoy Carhart’s grisly Maryland abortion facility and Missy attends them. Likewise, WAKE UP Treasurer Dick Retta was there. Michael Drake and David Dunlap of the American Society of Tradition, Family and Property came from Pennsylvania and David played his bagpipes at the burial ceremony.

Anita Crane is a writer, editor, and digital media producer with a B.A. in Catholic Theology from Christendom College. Please click here to send her an email message.