In June 2018 a baby girl was spotted floating in the ocean. She was somewhere between four days and one week old, and she had been in the ocean possibly as long as eighteen hours. The reconstructed picture, no photographs were circulated, showed a beautiful little girl sleeping peacefully on a cushion. For want of any other name, investigators are calling her Baby June. Everything about her is a mystery. Who she is, where she came from, whether she was already dead when she went into the water, and even her racial background is in question. Her autopsy showed pinpricks in her heals, suggesting that she had been born in a hospital. It remains unsolved. Was it murder?
Human Infants are Fragile
Human babies are born with a narrow range of abilities. They can sneeze, they have a startle reflex, and if nourishment is presented within reach of their mouths, they will suck on it. Future humans require care to survive. It would be nice to think that Baby June is an isolated case of infant death, but nothing could be farther from the truth.
Examples of Endangered Children
Ignorance or desperation can cause unbelievable situations. A mother in Blackstone tried to hide her younger children after her boyfriend told her that he didn’t want any more than the two they already had. She is believed to have told him that they were neighbor’s children that she was babysitting. Officials who intervened found skeletons of three infants, as well as the two neglected younger children. Even after being jailed, the woman’s focus seemed to be on the location of the children and their well-being, despite the conditions in which the family was found.
The National Safe Haven Alliance, an organization that tallies the numbers of children who are left at police stations, hospitals and fire stations, as well as babies that are simply abandoned, has tallied more than 3,500 newborns that have been left at official facilities across the US. Sadly, more than 1400 have been found abandoned – usually too late.
Although there are many sorts of social services that are available for unwed mothers, babies are still found in dumpsters or in boxes outside facilities. This has prompted the establishment of “baby boxes,” which are climate-controlled incubators accessible from the outside of a building. The abandoning party can place the baby inside the box and walk away. Three silent alarms sound immediately, prompting first responders to come get the baby.
There is some controversy over the boxes. They are a point of vulnerability for public buildings, and they preclude the option to talk to the mother and get medical and counseling help for her. But they do offer a potential meeting point for the pro-choice and pro-life factions to meet and perhaps agree on one thing: a living baby deserves a chance to be warm, to be fed and to be nurtured.
Back to Baby June
Even with the best forensic investigation possible, we may never know why Baby June was set adrift in the ocean. One article mentions similarities to Baby Moses, who was found floating in St. Lucie River. His umbilical was still attached. With new forensic tools, such as DNA testing, authorities hope that they might one day learn more about these infants.