The 7-month-old Barrington girl who authorities say starved to death in January as a result of mistreatment by her parents will be laid to rest Thursday at a service organized by a nonprofit group.
A funeral for Mya Edwards will take place at 10 a.m. that morning at St. Anne Church, with burial to follow in a donated plot at Evergreen Cemetery in Barrington.
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Susan Walker, the founder of Rest in His Arms, the organization that arranged Mya's services, said the girl's case is so tragic because her death was so preventable.
"There was no reason for her to have been starved to death," Walker said. "I think it's important that we come to her funeral and honor her life to make sure she's not forgotten again."
The public is invited to Mya's funeral and burial Thursday morning, Walker said. The funeral will be the 33rd arranged by Wheeling-based Rest in His Arms, which has been providing services for abandoned or killed babies and young children since 2005.
Barrington Police Chief Dave Dorn said he hopes every Barrington village employee will attend. Police and fire department personnel will lead a funeral processional from the Barrington Public Safety Facility on Northwest Highway Thursday morning, and four police officers will serve as pallbearers.
Dorn said Rest in His Arms reached out last week and asked if the department wanted to take part.
"Its an honor for us to be involved," he said. "We want to make sure she has a proper burial."
Walker said her organization often gets first responders involved so they can have the closure of being a part of the funeral.
"It is a crime that they have to be on the scene where a child has died," she said.
Liz Bremner, who owns Fresh Flower Market in Barrington along with her husband, Scott, will donate the spray of flowers for Mya's casket. Bremner said the arrangement will include different shades of pink roses and baby's breath, a tiny white flower.
Mya's parents, Gene Edwards, 22, and Markisa Jones, 19, have pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment. Authorities advised Rest in His Arms not to include the parents in Thursday's services, Walker said.
According to Assistant Cook County State's Attorney Alissa Grissom, Gene Edwards called 911 on Jan. 8 after noticing that his infant daughter wasn't moving or breathing in her crib, located in the basement of a Barrington house he shared with a cousin and his girlfriend.
Paramedics arrived and found the infant's limbs to be "stiff" and "thin," authorities said. Mya was pronounced dead after lifesaving efforts failed to revive her.
Paramedics transported Mya's twin sister, Mia, to Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital for evaluation. There, officials determined that Mia was suffering from malnutrition and transferred her to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge for treatment, officials said.
Authorities reported that the twins hadn't been seen by a doctor since July or August 2013. Prosecutors said the twins had been taken off formula and fed bottles filled only with water, cereal and baby food. They characterized the basement the twins were kept in as looking like a "dungeon."
Jones and Edwards will next appear in court Sept. 8 for a pretrial hearing, according to the state's attorney's office.