AP NEWS

Cremated remains of 20 babies found at mortuary buried

November 17, 2019

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — The cremated remains of more than 20 babies that were found on mortuary shelves in Roseburg, Oregon will be buried Sunday a special ceremony.

The remains were discovered by a woman who was searching for the unclaimed remains of veterans who had not received funerals. A funeral for the 28 veterans whose remains were found in that effort happened in May, The News-Review reported.

Some of the infants’ remains have been on a mortuary shelf for up to 70 years and most of the babies are believed to have been stillborn or died within a day of birth.

Carol Hunt, the woman who found the remains, formed a group called Wings of Love to accomplish the burial project.

The remains will be interred at Roseburg Memorial Gardens.

Hunt said the discovery of the babies’ remains tugged at her heart.

“I never lost a child, fortunately, but I know women who have. It’s just that mother instinct,” she told The News-Review.

Hunt had made contact with the California-based Garden of Innocence, a charity that arranges for abandoned babies to be buried. Hunt and the 25 other local volunteers who became involved in plans for a memorial service had hoped to follow the Garden of Innocence model in preparing to memorialize and bury the babies’ remains.

They started the group Wings of Love to oversee the project, with Hunt serving as president. The intention was to obtain the ashes, place them in urns, wrap them up with blankets and toys and bury them with a memorial service in the International Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery.

In August 2018, they held a ceremony to dedicate land at that cemetery for the purpose of holding future child and baby burials there.

But plans had to be altered after Wilson’s Chapel of the Roses, which had had possession of the remains, notified the group that they would be burying the remains in their own cemetery, Roseburg Memorial Gardens, rather than releasing them to Wings of Love.

The service will use a white rose to symbolize each baby, with pink or blue wrapping and tags.

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Information from: The News-Review, http://www.nrtoday.com