Mar 27, 2011 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Though she lived for less than a day, Isabella Marie has made a lasting impression on the village where she was born and buried.
The infant-who was found dead, wrapped in a towel and placed in a trash bin outside a Pearl Street apartment complex on Jan 6-was buried Saturday March 26 at Liverpool Cemetery following a funeral service at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church.
“We wanted her to be buried with full dignity and respect,” said Liverpool Police Chief Bill Becker. “We didn’t want her to be just a marker up at Potter’s Hill.”
When people see Isabella Marie’s gravestone, they’ll notice she lacks a last name. So the gravesite will remind people of the infant’s tragic story, Becker said, and may encourage them to help deter child abuse in the future.
The Liverpool Police Department had named the newborn and organized Saturday’s funeral. A dozen uniformed LPD officers attended the services along with another two dozen or so law enforcers and emergency medical personnel from other area agencies.
LPD Det. Mike Lemm and Officer Ken Hatter acted as pallbearers and delivered the service’s initial readings from Scripture. Lemm’s lines from Revelations promised both “a new heaven and a new earth,” while Hatter’s New Testament reading celebrated “God’s children.”
Hatter had been among the first responders at the scene on Jan. 6, and Lemm served as lead investigator on the case which led to the arrest of Isabella’s mother, 29-year-old Nicole DeJaynes of Clay. DeJaynes remains at the Corbett Justice Center in Syracuse, charged with second-degree murder.
Among the 200 mourners at the church was Michael DeNardo, the young man who discovered the baby’s body while he was scavenging a dumpster for scrap wood. He had found her there-abandoned and alone-among plastic trash bags and broken toys.
On Saturday, DeNardo said, “I didn’t want her to be buried alone.”
The Rev. Denny Hayes celebrated the baby’s funeral Mass assisted by St. Joseph’s pastor, the Rev. Charlie Major. The church chorus, conducted by keyboardist and music minister Eileen Brody, filled the sacristy with the sound of “Amazing Grace” and other hymns.
After reading from the gospel of Mark in which Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me,” Hayes lamented Isabella’s death as “unfathomable.” Fr. Hayes, who serves as chaplain for the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, pointed out that first responders to such death scenes find them “an insult to their senses [and] an insult to their souls.”
While Hayes delivered the homily, Fr. Major made brief introductory remarks.
“This tragedy took place within a mile of where I live,” the pastor noted. “So I felt bad about this.” He had to wonder, he said, “Where was our welcoming spirit to this mother and child?”
Major praised the LPD for arranging the infant’s funeral.
“I’m so happy to be part of a village which is raising awareness of this child,” Major said. The funeral service “enriches us as citizens,” he said, and represents a “faith-and-village connective-ness.”
After the Mass-as a brisk breeze offset the spring sunshine-some 100 mourners led by LPD officers walked across Sixth Street behind the hearse from the Ballweg & Lunsford Funeral Home to Liverpool Cemetery.
Hayes said a few prayers at the baby’s grave while a closed picnic basket with a black bow sat on a small table near the white casket. As the service concluded, Annie Westrupp opened the basket and out flew three snow-white doves which ascended directly toward heaven.
Contributions can be made in Isabella Marie’s name to Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, 750 E. Adams St., Syracuse, NY 13210.
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