Coroner takes steps to name ‘Baby Doe’

There are few things the staff at the Kitsap County Coroner’s Office hasn’t seen or done, but something they considered doing this week was definitely a first — giving a baby a name.

For the past three months, Coroner Greg Sandstrom has been in charge of a dead infant found discarded on Bielmeir Road in South Kitsap. With no one stepping forward to claim the child and a mother yet to be identified, Sandstrom said his staff will need to bury it soon.

“But we want to give it a name first,” he said, explaining that as soon as he thought of doing it, he wondered if it was even legally possible. “So I asked the Prosecutor’s Office if that was something we could do.”

After getting approval from Prosecutor Russ Hauge, Sandstrom said he and his staff planned to meet Thursday to discuss naming the infant.

And as sad as most of the process has been, Sandstrom said at least one positive thing has happened since the baby’s death, and that has been the community’s reaction to the tragedy.

“Several people have called about the baby, wanting to do something for it, which has been heartening,” Sandstrom said, explaining that at least one person asked about adopting the child, thereby giving it both a name and a family.

While adoption is not a possibility, Sandstrom said he can gratefully accept a quilt that another group made to wrap the infant in before it is buried.

Sandstrom said he doesn’t know when the burial will take place, but he knows it will be at Sunset Lane Cemetery, and a service will be performed by a local fire district chaplain.

Typically, indigent remains are cremated using designated county funds. But Sandstrom said since the baby’s death could turn out to be a homicide, his office will bury the baby — just in case it becomes necessary later to exhume the remains.

Rill Chapel has agreed to cover the extra costs.

For now, however, Sandstrom said his office is waiting until the Sheriff’s Office can follow up on remaining leads, and until pending DNA results are processed.

And perhaps the most help the public can provide right now, he said, is information that leads to the baby being identified.

“Any information they can gather would be valuable,” he said.

The baby was found on April 4 in a plastic bag by two teenage girls near Strawberry Hill Park on the 3300 block of Bielmeier Road, who then called 911 around 4:25 p.m.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson said that an autopsy revealed that the baby was an apparent full-term, caucasian newborn.

Wilson said 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 Crime Stoppers at (800) CRIME13.

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