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    First responders pay final tribute to newborn found in pond

    Baby Michelle Sterling pondA newborn baby girl who was found in a Sterling pond April 7 was buried at Chestnut Grove Cemetery in Herndon Sept. 17. The casket, flowers, grave marker and funeral service were all donated for Baby Michelle, as she was named by a Loudoun Sheriff’s Office investigator.Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny

    A tiny white casket stood in front of the chapel at Adams-Green Funeral home as members of law enforcement and emergency rescue paid their last respects to an infant girl many of them had come to see as their own.

    The baby was found by pedestrians the morning of April 7 in an artificial pond near Awsley Court in the CountrySide neighborhood of Sterling. Many of the first responders from that day attended the memorial service and burial Sept. 17, still not knowing the newborn girl’s true identity.

    During his remarks, Chaplain Andy Young described how different the first responders reacted the morning of April 7. While accident and crime scenes buzz with activity, Young described how quiet and still each of the first responders appeared.

    “They acted as if that baby was their own,” Young said.

    The Office of the Medical Examiner reported that she was full-term, but likely a home birth. The identity of the mother is still unknown.

    Even so, the infant was buried with a name – Baby Michelle. The name was provided by Detective S. Petrakos, an investigator with the Loudoun Sheriff’s Office. It was the name of her own family member who died as an infant.

    Chaplain Charlie Grant of the Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad performed the service and made special note of how the infant’s death spurred an outpouring of support from the community.

    Adams-Green Funeral Home donated the professional services with a donation of a grave and marker from Chestnut Grove Cemetery. The casket was donated by Walls Vault Service and even the flowers for the casket were donated by Herndon Florist.

    The Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the circumstances of Baby Michelle’s birth and death. Those with information related to the case have been urged to contact Detective Petrakos at 703-777-0405.

    Since the discovery of Baby Michelle’s body, each of the fire and rescue stations have posted bilingual information about Virginia’s Safe Haven program, whereby a parent can safely leave an infant under 14 days of age at an emergency room or emergency services facility with no questions asked.

    First responders lower the casket of a newborn baby girl into the ground at Chestnut Grove Cemetery in Herndon Sept. 17. The infant was found in a Sterling pond April 7. A group of first responders who were on the scene that day attended her funeral. The casket, flowers, grave marker and funeral service were all donated for Baby Michelle, as she was named by a Sheriff's Office investigator.Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny
    Jim and Stacey Hogarty of Sterling sorrowfully watch as Chestnut Grove Cemetery workers bury a newborn baby girl in Herndon Sept. 17. The infant was found in a Sterling pond April 7. "About 22 years ago we lost our stillborn and it was about the same time of year so it just brings back a lot of memories," Stacey Hogarty said. The couple said they planned to visit his grave that's just up the hill afterward.Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny
    Top / Public Safety / People / Eastern Loudoun / Cascades / CountrySide / Sterling /

    How very sad, but so touching that this baby girl was not forgotten.  Thanks to all who donated to provide Baby Michelle a proper memorial service and burial, and to the Loudoun Times for publishing her obituary so that we can remember her.  I hope this case is resolved.

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