CORONA (AP) — Dozens of people bearing flowers or stuffed animals attended a funeral for a newborn girl found dead last summer along a Southern California highway.
Authorities in Riverside County continue to investigate the death of the baby whose identity remains a mystery.
The service on Thursday was organized in part by police officers and firefighters, the Press-Enterprise reported.
Jon Castillo, a Corona police chaplain, led the about 70 people in prayer near the tiny, flower-draped casket.
“Every person who walks the planet is born in God’s image, and she had inherent value and worth,” Castillo said.
The girl known as “Baby Jane Doe” was discovered on July 27 in a cardboard box near Interstate 15 in Corona, east of Los Angeles. She was wrapped in a t-shirt with stripes and a floral pattern.
Monica Montejano was among those who said they felt compelled to show respect for the child.
“I would have held her,” Montejano told the newspaper. “I would have loved her.”
Lorena Palacios placed a pair of miniature Christmas trees by the casket. She bought one at a grocery store and the other was purchased by a store employee who wanted to contribute.
“It’s December, it’s Christmas. I have three kids. Every kid wants a tree,” Palacios said.
The coroner has been unable to identify potential family members through DNA. Officials said detectives are asking for the public’s help during the ongoing investigation.
Authorities also emphasized that Corona offers several sites — including police stations, fire stations and hospitals — where parents can give up an infant within 72 hours of birth with no questions asked.