Coroner: Offers pouring in to assist with funeral for 'Baby Hope'

  • Fresh flowers and stuffed animals mark the scene Thursday where a newborn baby girl was found dead Monday near Wheaton.

      Fresh flowers and stuffed animals mark the scene Thursday where a newborn baby girl was found dead Monday near Wheaton. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • DuPage County Coroner Richard Jorgensen said it is distressing having an unidentified baby in the county morgue.

    DuPage County Coroner Richard Jorgensen said it is distressing having an unidentified baby in the county morgue.

 
 
Updated 8/18/2016 6:10 PM

She's now called Baby Hope and she will get a proper burial, DuPage County officials say, but when that might occur is uncertain.

Coroner Richard Jorgensen said Thursday he already has been approached by several individuals and at least one organization offering to pay for burial services for the baby girl found dead Monday along a road in an unincorporated area near Wheaton.

 

DuPage sheriff's officials, meanwhile, said they named the baby Hope because they believe they will learn who she is and whom she belongs to.

Jorgensen said he's been moved by the "amazing outpouring of love and caring," but authorities must take every possible step to locate members of Baby Hope's family before proceeding with a funeral. There's no telling, he said, how long that might take.

"There is little more distressing, to any of us, than having a baby in the morgue, but we don't have the legal ability to just bury someone without making every effort to identify next of kin," Jorgensen said.

"There is a legal next of kin somewhere out there. Even if it's not the mother, there may be grandparents or other people in that chain of next of kin. And we can't rob them of the opportunity to bury their loved one."

Jorgensen said he intends to keep in contact with those who have reached out to assist with the baby's burial.

"Everyone is coming from the heart with their offers and they all want to make sure this little girl is properly buried," he said. "So to everyone, I promise this baby will receive the proper burial at the proper time."

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Jorgensen said there is no legal timeline in which remains must be buried. He said everyone on his staff and in the DuPage County sheriff's office is working "as hard as possible" to make the proper identification and notifications.

The full-term baby girl was discovered Monday by a landscaping crew working at an isolated location along Plamondon Road in an unincorporated area northwest of Danada. Officials estimated she had been there for a day when she was found.

Anyone traveling along Plamondon Road between 9 and 11 p.m. Sunday is asked to call the DuPage County sheriff's office at (630) 407-2400.

While an autopsy was performed Tuesday, Jorgensen said it could be "days or weeks" before her cause of death is known because pathologists are still investigating.

"I know it's frustrating. Everyone wants to know what happened and how they can help," he said. "But we need to be accurate and come to the proper conclusion of this case for this little girl."

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