Baby S: Teddy bear-shaped gravestone for unidentified girl found dead in recycling yard

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The final resting place of an unidentified baby who was found dead in a recycling yard after being dumped in a garbage can is marked with a headstone in the shape of a teddy bear.

The girl, named only Baby S, was less than a day old when her body was discovered on May 14, 2020 in Sackers waste depot in Needham Market, Suffolk.

Tests showed she may have been smothered before she died.

Baby S was buried in a small white coffin on February 17 this year in a simple funeral ceremony, largely arranged by Sackers, at the Millennium Cemetery in Ipswich.

Sackers delivered the headstone after the ground around the grave had settled.

The stone reads: ‘Baby S sleeps here. So small, so sweet, so early, sleep little one, sleep.’

The stone of the unknown newborn reads: 'Baby S sleeps here.  So small, so sweet, so early, sleep little one, sleep.'

The stone of the unknown newborn reads: ‘Baby S sleeps here. So small, so sweet, so early, sleep little one, sleep.’

Baby S was buried in a small white coffin on Feb. 17 in a simple funeral ceremony attended by 15 strangers

Baby S was buried in a small white coffin on Feb. 17 in a simple funeral ceremony attended by 15 strangers

Baby S was buried in a small white coffin on Feb. 17 in a simple funeral ceremony attended by 15 strangers

The funeral was attended by 15 mourners, including police, council officials and Sackers staff.

Some wiped away tears as her coffin was carried to her grave with a single white rose on top in the children’s section of the cemetery.

The waste management company said in a Facebook post: ‘The terrible news of Baby S being found on May 14, 2020 at our recycling site has reached thousands of people around the world and has touched many of our followers since we first found her.

“After months of allowing her burial place to settle, her teddy bear headstone has now been placed so that she will never be forgotten.”

A spokesperson for the company added: ‘There was never any doubt that Baby S’ short life needed to be marked and remembered, and it was never in question that it was our responsibility to make sure this happened.

“We wanted to make sure those who wanted to pay their respects could do so, as her very sad story has touched so many people.”

Baby S’s body was discovered at Sackers at the height of the first lockdown when staff were sorting rubbish on a conveyor belt.

The funeral of the unknown baby girl was attended in February by 15 mourners, including police, city officials and staff from the Sackers waste depot.

The funeral of the unknown baby girl was attended in February by 15 mourners, including police, city officials and staff from the Sackers waste depot.

The funeral of the unknown baby girl was attended in February by 15 mourners, including police, city officials and staff from the Sackers waste depot.

Police believe she was dumped in a bin at one of 54 commercial sites in the Ipswich area where rubbish was picked up earlier in the day and brought into the center by two Sackers lorries.

At an inquest in June this year, it was learned that Baby S’s mother has never been located, despite extensive calls from police to come forward.

An autopsy by the Department of the Interior’s pathologist, Dr. Virginia Fitzpatrick-Swallow, found that Baby S had “numerous serious injuries” caused by her body going through the waste recycling process after her death.

The investigation also revealed that she had a head injury consistent with a traumatic birth.

But further tests conducted by consultant neuropathologist Prof. Safa Al-Sarraj could not rule out that some of the injuries were caused by ‘shaking trauma’ or ‘choking’.

He suggested that some of the bruising on her body, especially around her face and neck, was “not typical of a birth trauma,” and said she could have suffocated, the inquest heard.

Senior coroner Nigel Parsley recorded an open conclusion at Suffolk Coroner’s Court in Ipswich after hearing how her cause of death was given as an undetermined brain injury.

The baby girl was found in the Sackers waste depot in Needham Market, Suffolk on May 14, 2020.  A headstone with a teddy bear has been placed to mark the baby's death

The baby girl was found in the Sackers waste depot in Needham Market, Suffolk on May 14, 2020.  A headstone with a teddy bear has been placed to mark the baby's death

The baby girl was found in the Sackers waste depot in Needham Market, Suffolk on May 14, 2020. A headstone with a teddy bear has been placed to mark the baby’s death

Mr Parsley said the traumatic brain injury could be ‘birth-related trauma or inflicted or accidental trauma’.

He added: ‘Exactly when and how this injury occurred cannot be determined from the available evidence.

“We simply cannot say how Baby S died and how she suffered the injuries that led to her death. I’ll have to include an open conclusion.’

Detective Chief Inspector Karl Nightingale, the senior investigating officer on the case, said Baby S had bloated lungs, indicating she had been born alive.

He told the hearing that she was “a day old at the most.” Mr Nightingale added: ‘The pathology was significantly hampered by the injuries caused by waste disposal.’

But he said there were some injuries that were “not caused by the waste recycling process.”

He added: ‘There was a possibility of asphyxiation and inflicted injury, and shaking was mentioned, but Dr Fitzpatrick-Swallow could not say what mechanism caused her death.

‘It could be several mechanisms. Which is most or least likely, she can’t say.’

Suffolk Police believe the baby girl found among the rubbish was no more than 48 hours old

Suffolk Police believe the baby girl found among the rubbish was no more than 48 hours old

Suffolk Police believe the baby girl found among the rubbish was no more than 48 hours old

Mr Nightingale said it had been impossible to identify the bin Baby S, who was of back or mixed ethnicity, was dumped in.

Agents reviewed more than 11,000 hours of CCTV footage and visited 800 homes and businesses around the potential sites in their search for clues, but found no evidence.

Mr Nightingale said: ‘We are no closer to identifying how she entered the waste disposal system. We need to keep an open mind about how Baby S got those injuries.”

Police previously confirmed they had attempted to use DNA from Baby S’s body to identify her.

Following the inquest, Mr Nightingale said he remained ‘optimistic’ that one day police would ‘put the last pieces of the puzzle together’ and discover what had happened to her.

Celebrant Patrick Eade spoke movingly next to Baby S’s grave at her funeral, likening her to a ‘rose bud’ that doesn’t bloom as he addressed mourners.

He said, ‘Baby S, you will never be forgotten. May the light of love shine upon you, and those who care for you, and may you reach the end of your journey in gentleness and joy.

“Your memory will remain in our hearts, and as long as we remember you, you will live on. With love and respect we lay you down to rest. Go ahead in peace.”

He also read a poem, which began with the words, “The world may never notice when a rosebud doesn’t bloom, or even pause to wonder if the petals fall too soon.”

Baby S was buried in a small white coffin on February 17 this year in a simple funeral ceremony (pictured), largely arranged by Sackers, at the Millennium Cemetery in Ipswich

Baby S was buried in a small white coffin on February 17 this year in a simple funeral ceremony (pictured), largely arranged by Sackers, at the Millennium Cemetery in Ipswich

Baby S was buried in a small white coffin on February 17 this year in a simple funeral ceremony (pictured), largely arranged by Sackers, at the Millennium Cemetery in Ipswich

“But every life that ever forms or ever comes into being touches the world in some way forever.”

Earlier, Mr Eade spoke of the baby’s unknown family at a private funeral service, saying she had died ‘in the most tragic of circumstances’.

He said, “It’s hard to imagine what Baby S’s relatives are going through. Moving on is leaving something behind, forgetting and never looking back. To ‘go on’ is to carry it with you forever and never forget it.

“A grieving parent never moves on, but “moves on.” If one message could reach Baby S’s family, I imagine it would be, “Please tell me what I can do to help.”

Mr Eade also praised Sackers police and staff, saying: ‘You all played a part in ‘doing the right thing’ as you tried to put the pieces of this tragic puzzle together and make sure that Baby S will be buried. in a dignified way, never forgotten, and help those in need.’

He added, “We will often think of you over time and wonder why you weren’t meant to last a lifetime.

“The question we all ask an imagined sky, how can this be and always why.”

The ceremony included playing Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and The Beatles’ “The Long and Winding Road.”

Suffolk Police are still urging Baby S’s mother or anyone with information on her to come forward.

Anyone with information can contact Suffolk Police.