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11/16/02 - Van Zandt County

Dead Baby Found On Side Of Highway

It was early Saturday afternoon when the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Department responded to a call. Their worst fears were realized, as they found a dead baby abandoned by the side of the road.

The day began with a simple walk, and quickly turned heartbreaking.

Van Zandt County Sheriff Pat Burnett explains, "We have some citizens who were out walking on a beautiful day and they found a garbage bag, became curious, and looked inside the bag and found a small child."

"It's not a newborn, but a very young child," he clarifies, saying the child was old enough to be wearing a diaper.

The Sheriff's Department and Grand Saline Police were quickly on scene, sealing off the site on Highway 110 two miles South of Grand Saline. They began the investigation, while trying in vain to understand what happened and why.

Neighbors stood, staring stunned at the shocking scene blocked off just across the road from their houses.

Neighbor Oscar Lopez said. "To find out what's happened, it's kind of shocking."

Another longtime neighbor, Pete Adams, was also stunned. "Makes me think anyone mean enough to do that, well I'm glad they have law enforcement to take care of situation like that."

It was a scene so horrible, it stands out against the rural backdrop of everyday crime and traffic stops. The nature of the death even caught the professionals off guard.

"Any kind of crimes," Sheriff Burnett said, "Against our children or against our senior citizens always shocks me."

So Saturday brought more questions than answers. But every clue will be checked over, searching for the reasons why a young life was ended and abandoned.

If you have any information about this case, you are asked to call the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Department. That number is 903-567-4133.

Reid Kerr reporting.

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