BAKERSFIELD - Three abandoned babies will be laid to rest Saturday in the new Garden of Innocence at Union Cemetery. The garden will be a place where the community can gather to celebrate the lives of young children, gone too soon.
When a child dies, the parents are responsible for their burial or cremation. But, sometimes little one's remains are left behind, unclaimed. This garden will change that.
On Friday, a new bench was placed in the Garden of Innocence, a final resting place for abandoned children in Kern County.
"It means part of my family. All the babies we have buried are part of our family," said Juanita Medina, Union Cemetery Director.
These children were never a part of a family. But Saturday, three babies will be together.
All three were given names: Gabriella, Michael, and David.
To many, Gabriella is known as Baby Beardsley. She was found in a trash can in June in the 500 block of Beardsley Avenue in Oildale.
Elissa Davey, founder of the Garden of Innocence, says the Kern County Sheriff's Department chose the name 'Gabriella.'
"This deeply upsets them when things like this happen, and it's our way of giving them closure or at least help give them closure, to know would you name her," said Davey.
Davey hopes the garden will give these babies the respect they deserve.
"We get a lot of people who want to know where this baby came from. Where did you find it? What's their circumstances? And, we just tell them, ya know, we don't focus on that. Today we're going home," she continued.
A home that hopefully brings comfort to many.
"We'll take care of them forever here at this place and we want it to be respectful and a good feeling for people. Even though it's a sad event, it's better to have it finish this way than some other way," said Union Cemetery General Manager Dave Hepburn,
"People get upset, but then they see that this is their spot and it belongs to your community. It doesn't follow me around. It stays right here and every child will come here from now on," continued Davey.
The burial is Saturday at Union Cemetery at 10 a.m. and is open to the public. Cemetery employees suggest people arrive around 9:30 a.m.
After Saturday's burial, the Garden of Innocence will have buried 229 babies across three states in 15 years.