Grand Saline Comes To Terms With Abandoned Premature Baby - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/18/02 - Van Zandt County

Grand Saline Comes To Terms With Abandoned Premature Baby

  After examining the body, a Dallas medical examiner has clarified what was found. Initially, they thought the body was that of a child wrapped in a diaper. Examination showed the body to be that of a seven month-old premature baby, wrapped in plastic.

From the condition of the body, they estimate it had been dead for about a week. Van Zandt County Sheriff Pat Burnett says the next break in the case may come from the public.

“What we need to do is appeal to anyone,” he says, “Who knows a female who has been pregnant and is no longer pregnant and does not have a child at the same time.”

Meanwhile the town of Grand Saline has shaken off the stunned feeling that followed them since Saturday, and is taking steps to pay their respects. Shelly Pickett at Bartlett Funeral Home in Grand Saline will be having a funeral for the baby.

“The community needs some type of burial,” she says. "I think that some of the community was worried that there would not be a proper burial for this baby.”

Eric Jontra at KVCL radio in Canton was also involved, and he says the tight-knit community immediately started to think of way to help.

“In this instance, there wasn't anything to do except make sure that the funeral was held and proper respects were there,” Jontra said. “I think the reason that people got involved so quickly like they did was the need for closure.”

Businesses have also come forward and donated a headstone, cemetery lot, and flowers for the funeral.

“We have a very strong, very wonderful community,” Sheriff Burnett says. “When things like this happen, people are concerned, and they come forward.”

The people of Grand Saline will pay their respects, but they still don’t think the memory of this weekend will fade.

“It will bring closure in a sense,” Pickett says, “But I think it's going to be a while before we're not talking about it or thinking about it anymore.”

Reid Kerr reporting.

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