Reporting Regine Schlesinger
CHICAGO (CBS) – Strangers have been coming together to provide a funeral for a newborn baby boy, whose body was found inside a cooler at a suburban recycling plant last week.
WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, as they search for the infant’s mother, Chicago Ridge police officers have named the boy Jeremiah, which means “God will exalt.”
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office said, although Baby Jeremiah was born prematurely, he could have survived with proper post-natal care.
His body was found inside a soft-shell cooler on a conveyor belt at a recycling plant in Chicago Ridge on May 1. Police have said the recycling truck that dumped the cooler there had picked up recycling materials from parts of Wisconsin and the northern suburbs.
Dawn Geras, with the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation, said Jeremiah’s death could have been avoided, since Illinois and has a Safe Haven Law to protect unwanted babies.
“The Safe Haven Law allows a parent, for whatever reason when they feel they cannot keep that baby, to relinquish that baby – 30 days old or younger – to staff at a hospital, police or fire station,” Geras said.
She said 82 babies have been saved since the law took effect in 2001. On the othe hand, counting Jeremiah, 70 babies were illegally abandoned, and 36 of them died, Geras said.
Wisconsin also has a Safe Haven Law, although parents in that state have only three days after a baby’s birth to relinquish the child to a hospital, police station, or firehouse if they decide they cannot care for the infant.
Police have been working with the non-profit group Rest In His Arms to provide a funeral for Jeremiah once the medical examiner releases his body.