Church helps bury two dead newborns found at NJ recycling center
NEW BRUNSWICK — Two newborns, found dead within hours of each other at a recycling facility this past winter, were laid to rest Friday by the Catholic Diocese of Metuchen.
Acting Middlesex County Prosecutor Christopher Kuberiet said the babies were found February 20 at the facility on Industrial Drive in New Brunswick. The Diocese offered to bury the young infants if no one came forward to identify them.
More than two months later, no one has and the case remains under investigation, according to Kuberiet.
A funeral service on Friday was attended by several people, wearing facial coverings as required during the pandemic. Among them was New Brunswick Mayor James M. Cahill and former Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns who now serves as chancellor for the Diocese.
Flowers, including a bouquet of red roses, were placed on top of a small white casket.
“In a time when people are experiencing anxiety, sickness and death as a result of COVID-19 and as we hear the voices of politicians and celebrities echoing similar sentiments in their public service announcements, reminding us that we cannot put a value on human life, we need to come together as a nation to remember that every life, at every stage, is sacred and is to be protected and cherished,” Metuchen Diocese Bishop James Checchio said. Checcio presided over a burial service for the unidentified newborns.
The casket was donated by Kearns Funeral Home in the Whitehouse section of Readington Township and a vault for the casket was donated by Vliet Burial Vault Company in the Asbury section of Franklin Township in Warren County.
Diocese spokeswoman Tara Smith told New Jersey 101.5 the genders of the infants could not be identified by a medical examiner.
Jennifer Ruggiero, diocesan director of the Office of Human Life and Dignity, called the deaths "heartbreaking" and used their funeral to bring awareness to the state's New Jersey's Safe Haven Infant Protection Act.
“If, indeed, the parents felt they had no other options and nowhere to turn for help, hopefully raising awareness about the help that is out there will help to prevent future tragedies," Ruggiero said.
The act allows people to safely surrender infants legally and anonymously at designated public safety sites across the Garden State, including hospitals, police stations, fire houses and ambulance and rescue squad facilities that are staffed 24/7. The Safe Haven number is 877-839-2339.