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Storm Lake keeps memory of baby alive
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Storm Lake keeps memory of baby alive

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Associated Press

STORM LAKE, Iowa — Residents of this northern Iowa town are keeping alive the memory of a baby boy whose mangled body was found at a recycling center a year ago.

The infant, who was found May 30, 2002, now has a headstone in a local cemetery, a family who loves him and a community that won't forget.

Authorities have never tracked down the baby's mother, despite a high-profile legal tangle over pregnancy test records at a Planned Parenthood clinic that reached the Iowa Supreme Court.

The court battle ended after the county attorney pulled out the case.

Kevin King, the employee who found the body, and his family pray at the infant's grave twice a month. His wife washes the sun-bleached stuffed teddy bears that strangers left behind when the baby was buried last August.

The couple think of a life the baby never got to live. They think of what kind of mother he had.

"Why didn't she just let someone who wants to have a baby take him?" King asked. "I just don't understand how his parents could have done that, just put him in a bag and throw him in the garbage," King said.

An autopsy showed the dark-haired baby was born up to two days before his body was found, but the condition of the body hampered other findings.

Buena Vista County investigators hoped medical tests would tell the child's race and cause of death, and whether he was born alive. They didn't.

The Kings resent Planned Parenthood for not making an exception. King's sister-in-law, Sue Thayer, runs the Planned Parenthood clinic in Storm Lake. The two do not speak.

Thayer has her own memories. She sees the baby in the faces of her patients' children. She lives by the cemetery where the unknown baby rests in peace.

"It's just always there," she said.

Thayer said she no longer receives threats. Her neighbors no longer stare at her in the grocery store.

About 50 people said goodbye to the newborn they never knew at a funeral last August.

This week, people remembered the baby boy quietly. Privately.

A headstone donated by a local monument company has replaced the tiny grave marker. Etched in the stone are an angel and these words: "A Child of God: May 30, 2002."

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