Service, Burial Held for Baby Found Dead in Recycling Center

Jeremiah Michael buried at Holy Sepulchre Catholic Cemetery in Alsip

Thursday, May 16, 2013  |  Updated 11:15 PM CDT
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Service Held for Baby Found in Recycling Center

A funeral was held Thursday for a dead baby found earlier this month at a recycling plant in Chicago Ridge.

A service for Jeremiah Michael -- a name given to the newborn by authorities -- was held at Our Lady of the Ridge Catholic Church. A burial followed at Holy Sepulchre Catholic Cemetery in Alsip.

"We are a people who are supposed to respect life and cherish it to the fullest," the Rev. George Svida, pastor of the church, told those in attendance, many of whom openly wept. "These are not ways to respect life — life given but not to be taken away by some senseless act. Not to be destroyed, not to be taken out like garbage."

Dawn Geras, president of the Chicago-based Save Abandoned Babies Foundation, who said she doesn’t want to bury any more babies.

"It’s heartbreaking and frustrating, I can’t tell you how angry I get," she said.

Under Illinois' Safe Haven law, parents are allowed to relinquish custody of an unharmed newborn up to 30 days old to personnel at a hospital, emergency medical care facility, police or fire station.

An assistant to Chicago Ridge Police Chief Robert Pyznarski said the names Jeremiah and Michael carried special meaning given the circumstances.

"Michael is the patron saint of police, and Jeremiah means, 'God will set you free,'" said Donna Betsanes.

An employee made the discovery at Resource Management Company, at 10111 Anderson Ave., at about 4:30 a.m. on May 1.

The boy, who was not full term, but could have survived if given the proper medical care after birth,
was wrapped in a blanket with the umbilical cord attached.

The cause of death has not been determined.

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