The Traverse City Record Eagle reports today that a group of Grand Traverse sheriff's deputies surrounded a miniature burial site at Oakwood Catholic Diocesan Cemetery in Traverse City early Tuesday to offer their final respects to an infant found dead May 14 in a Gladewood Lane backyard. Among the deputies attending the memorial service were many who had responded to the Garfield Township home after a young resident found the dead body near a fence.
"We felt that the victim deserved a proper burial," sheriff's Capt. Tom Emerson said shortly after the service. "All of us at the scene, we just felt it was the right thing to do because there is no family or relatives."
A local funeral home, Reynolds-Jonkoff, donated the small white casket in which the infant was buried in a cemetery owned by the Diocese of Gaylord in the section named "The Angel Walk," which is especially for infants. The Diocese donated the burial spot. Black Monument Company in Grand Rapids plans to donate an engraved stone for the infant's burial site within the next month.
As yet, the infant's identity is unknown. This, the second of two infant deaths in the Grand Traverse region, has called attention to The Safe Delivery of Newborns Act. This law allows young mothers who feel they have no options to safely and anonymously deliver an infant into the hands of designated persons such as police agencies,