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Local churches bless ‘Baby Doe’

Dozens gathered on Wednesday afternoon to bless both the baby discovered dead last week and the spot near Bielmeier Road where it was found.

“To many, this spot will be indelibly imprinted as a place of tragedy,” said Pastor George Larson of nearby Spirit of Life Lutheran Church. “We would like to reclaim it as a part of God’s creation.”

Larson said while Wednesday’s ceremony was hastily organized by his church and Grace Bible Baptist Church, he had been planning for months to bring these types of events to the county.

Known as a “Moment of Blessing,” Larson said the event was just one of many services offered by Associated Ministries, a Pierce County Group with 250 congregations that performs ceremonies at the sites of violent deaths.

“It’s a way to take back our community from violence,” said Debbie Price of Associated Ministries, explaining that although authorities reportedly do not know how the “Baby Doe” — as it was called Wednesday — died, she believed he or she was the victim of mistreatment.

“I’ve been working with Sheriff Steve Boyer since September to try and bring these blessing services to Kitsap County,” Larson said, explaining that he felt compelled to perform a service for the dead child since it was found so close to his church.

Although the ceremony was held at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, a week just about to the hour from when the infant was found, Larson said the hour was purely practical.

“We wanted to choose a time after the last school bus came through the area and before rush hour begins,” he said, explaining that he asked the Sheriff’s Office to help control traffic on the well-traveled street.

With nearly 30 people making a quiet circle around an ever-growing pile of stuffed animals, flowers and a sign proclaiming “Jesus Loves Babies,” Larson began the blessing.

“We come together at this place ... acknowledging the tragic loss of Baby Doe, confessing that this tragedy is in part a failure to create a safe community that is humane, compassionate and just,” he said.

Pastors Elizabeth Engel from Elim Lutheran Church and Calvin Bodeutsch from Grace Bible joined Larson for the service, which included “blessing” the spot with water Larson had brought in a blue bucket.

Price, who said she had just come from a service for a Pierce County woman who left behind seven children, said all the ceremonies are “very powerful,” and are connected by the ribbons she and other Associated Ministries members take to each one.

For each blessing ceremony, Price said the name of the victim is written on a ribbon — red for domestic violence and lavender for other homicides — which is then tied to a pole alongside many others until the pole is full.

On Wednesday, Price brought several poles, most full of red ribbons.

According to Deputy Scott Wilson, the Sheriff’s Office had not located either the mother of the infant or anyone related to it as of Thursday afternoon.

Wilson said several people have called his office offering information in the case, but the tips have not lead to a definitive suspect.

He said the Kitsap County Coroner’s Office is still awaiting the results of tests on the tissue samples sent to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab in Olympia.

Anyone with information regarding the mother or child is asked to call Det. Mike Rodrigue at (360)337-4479.

Those wishing to remain anonymous can call 800-CRIME13.

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