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Donations enough to give Baby John Doe a marker in Auburn cemetery

Identity of mother and circumstances of baby’s death still not known
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - While the identity of Baby John Doe is still unknown – half a year after his body was found at the side of a Newcastle road – he will have a marker on his grave.

The infant baby boy’s body was buried Nov. 28 in the New Auburn Cemetery, with funds from the county’s indigent burial fund.

But there was no money in the fund for a marker for Baby John Doe.

After TV and newspaper reports of the burial for the baby this past week, several people have pledged to help.

The outpouring of support has been so great that Senior Chaplain John Akers of the Placer County Law Enforcement Chaplaincy said Friday that it appears not only will Baby John Doe get a granite marker.

“We have enough people wanting to help that we can add a gravestone with a picture and place to put flowers,” Akers said.

A topping of freshly placed sod now marks Baby John Doe’s resting place, while the spot is surrounded by markers of other children that have pictures of cartoon animals, birth and death dates, names and flower holders.

Akers said one man has volunteered to provide the marker. Others who have agreed to help will likely be donating about $50 to $70 apiece to pay for other costs being coordinated by the non-profit chaplaincy. People wishing to donate can contact the chaplaincy at (530) 820-3427 or jakers@placerchaplains.com.

The chaplaincy deals with tragedy on a near-daily basis, assisting law-enforcement in helping people deal with death and move forward. Akers said that in the past year, for instance, the non-profit’s group has helped in the aftermath of 80 suicides.

“On the worst day of a person’s life, we show up,” Akers said.

The chaplaincy had yet to establish a final cost for the completed marker.

“By and large, people really care and this was an opportunity to help,” Akers said.

Baby John Doe’s body was found June 21 in a trash bag off the side of Green Hills Court. Sheriff’s investigators are continuing to look for leads that would identify the mother and possibly discover the circumstances surrounding the baby’s death.

The funeral on a stormy Wednesday was more than a symbolic gesture to Akers. The solemn ceremony, with a tiny casket, was attended by Placer County Sheriff’s Office personnel and Placer County Law Enforcement Chaplaincy,

“It’s a real goodbye to a real person,” Akers said. “His precious gift of life was short but it doesn’t mean we don’t honor him.”

Anyone with information that could lead investigators to the baby’s mother is being asked to call the Placer County Sheriff’s Office at (530) 889-7800.

If a caller wishes to remain anonymous, the Placer County Crime Stoppers phone at (800) 923-8191 is available. All callers remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 if the information leads to an arrest.