Recycling center ‘Baby Precious’ laid to rest

A memorial service takes place on Friday, June 28, 2013, to honor an infant girl whose body was found in a recycling center last month. (KOIN 6 News)
A memorial service takes place on Friday, June 28, 2013, to honor an infant girl whose body was found in a recycling center last month. (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A memorial service was held at a Northeast Portland church Friday morning for a baby girl whose body was found at a recycling center last month.

Approximately 50 people were in attendance at Marantha Church for an emotional service honoring “Baby Precious” with music and prayer. A small white casket, adorned with pink roses, was placed at the altar.

The infant’s remains were discovered May 28 by a worker at EFI Recycling on North Commercial Street. Her umbilical cord was still attached.

An autopsy by the Oregon State Medical Examiner found that the African-American or mixed-race baby girl, weighing 5.25 pounds, took breaths before she died.  The autopsy determined that she was likely full-term, or nearly full-term, Portland police said. Detectives suspect the baby was born within a few days of being discovered.

“I thought it was important to honor and show respect to this child,” said Joyce Harris, one of the organizers of the memorial service.

“It was important for the community today to come out and say we will not let these things go unnoticed. They will be attended to and we do care,” said Pastor Dr. T. Allen Bethel. “It’s also a way to bring the community together with some collective healing and reaffirm our love for all our children.”

After the service, Baby Precious was laid to rest at Riverview Cemetery.

The cause of death could not be determined.

The girl’s mother has not yet been identified. Investigators are seeking tips in the case. Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest. To leave a tip, call 503.823.HELP.

Pastor Bethel’s message is one of care and concern for the baby’s mother. “We care. We love you. We want to walk through this with you. And if there’s any way we can help you just feel free to give us a call.”

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