Memorial for dead baby broken

Baby Michael headstone (WTVD)

March 2, 2011 9:00:00 PM PST
The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office says someone has vandalized a memorial for an infant found dead along a county road 12 years ago.

There was a cross for "Baby Michael" set up on the shoulder of Cannady Pond Road near the intersection with Chickenfoot Road and deputies say someone broke it Wednesday night.

Baby Michael was the name given to the infant found at that spot March 3, 1999. An autopsy showed the baby - who was less than 24-hours-old - died of blunt force trauma.

"This is something that is not in the back of someone's mind," Lt. Matt Hurley, Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, said. "'It's in the forefront of it. They are thinking about it. They are aware this happened. It's not something that is going away. It will be a burden on someone's soul forever and the people who are aware of it I need for them to come forward."

Authorities say the boy was born to a white woman, but neither the mother nor the father have ever been identified. In 2009, investigators said they'd checked the DNA of 43 possible mothers with negative results and ruled out dozens of others for various reasons.

Deputies have never let the case grow cold, and send out a fresh alert to the public asking for information every year on the anniversary of the discovery.

Hurley says the case remains open and active. DNA and other tests have eliminated 40 suspects over the years. Although new leads have come in, authorities have no new suspects.

Now, they also want information about who might have vandalized the cross.

There's a substantial reward offered in the case. Anyone with information can call Cumberland Crime Stoppers at (910) 483-8477.

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