The wind whipped peacefully at Killeen City Cemetery as community members gathered in sorrow to celebrate the life of an unnamed infant laid to rest Thursday afternoon.
The child, whom police called Baby Jane Doe, was found dead and abandoned Dec. 7 in a bathroom at the Walmart on Lowe’s Boulevard in Killeen.
Several local businesses and the city of Killeen worked together to have a burial service for the infant girl. More than 50 people came to her funeral Thursday.
“There’s love, there was love for this baby,” said Herman Lee Gable, who said that when he woke up Thursday morning he felt a need to come to the service.
Police have yet to determine who left the child in the bathroom. Officials initially released a surveillance photo of a woman they suspected may be the mother, but later
determined she was not.
Whether the baby was stillborn or died after birth is unknown. An autopsy report lists the cause of death as undetermined.
“The kid deserved more,” Gable said after a melancholy eulogy. “She didn’t deserve to have such the short life that she got. She had a full life ahead of her.”
Killeen police spokeswoman Carroll Smith said if anything positive could be taken from the girl’s death, it is that Killeen residents rallied to give the child a dignified burial.
Temple Mortuary, Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home and Christell’s Flowers donated services for the funeral. The city of Killeen, Walmart employees and the Bell/Coryell Crime Victims Coalition also worked to organize the burial.
Several people began crying as pallbearers from the Killeen police honor guard carried the small, ivory-colored casket into a white hearse.
As they moved the coffin, Killeen resident Juan Guevara strummed his dark-brown guitar and sang the Christian hymn, “What a Day It Will Be.”
“If you want to do something for others, you do it with your heart,” Guevara said.
Baby Jane Doe was laid to rest in a small, donated plot. Community members laid several teddy bears, flowers and a prayer note on her gravesite.
On her left lies the grave of a 2-week-old boy. To her right, a 9-month-old.
Like those other children laid to rest in the plots surrounding hers, several said Baby Jane Doe was taken too soon. But she was loved by a community that never got a chance to see her grow.
“She became the community’s child,” Smith said.