In August 2016, a landscaper found a newborn baby stuffed inside a small black backpack near a wooded, private drive in a suburban area of Wheaton, Illinois.
The baby, deceased, was wrapped in a brown toilet seat cover and brown bath mat.DuPage County Sheriff’s Office
As the Daily Herald reports, the unidentified baby girl was laid to rest September 22, 2016.
Since the discovery and burial of “Baby Hope,” authorities have had very few leads.
What little they had to go on were the items wrapped about the baby and the determination that the mother had been taking medicine often used to treat seizures, epilepsy, or sleep disorders, ABC 7 in Chicago reported.
Despite the information investigators still have not been able to identify the little girl or her parents.
One year following her discovery, the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office is once again seeking the public’s assistance by drawing attention to composite images of two individuals believed to be the baby’s parents.DuPage County Sheriff’s Office
As ABC 7 reported, using unidentified DNA collected at the scene, a genetics lab completed phenotype testing to determine hair color, eye color, skin color, and ethnicity.
With this information, composites were created of who the mother and father might be. Authorities believe the parents of Baby Hope were of latino or Hispanic ancestry, providing images of what the suspected man and woman might look like at ages 15 and 25:DuPage County Sheriff’s Office
At the time, the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office asked anyone who knew of someone that was no longer pregnant to come forward. As WLS reported:
“Anything is possible. We’re not going to discount anything at this point,” Det. Sgt. Jeff Christiansen said
Christiansen told reporters it was believed the individuals who abandoned Baby Hope knew the area where Baby Hope was found, as it was an unincorporated area and not very well-lit. He said in part:
“They could live anywhere.”
Officials have also released a detail they hope leads them one step closer to solving the case. According to the Daily Herald, a press release by the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office claimed the county coroner confirmed Baby Hope took at least one breath before passing away:
“The loss of life is always sad and tragic, but the loss of a baby and the manner in which she was abandoned has left an indelible mark on all of us at the Sheriff’s Office and the community,” the release read.
As previously reported by Dearly, the U.S. doesn’t maintain records for the number of babies that are abandoned every year; however, Save Abandoned Babies estimates approximately 3,317 babies have been surrendered to designated Safe Havens since 2001.
According to the Daily Herald, since the passing of Safe Haven laws, Baby Hope was one of 49 illegally abandoned infants who died.
The Herald reports that anyone with information about Baby Hope and her parents can submit informational anonymously by calling (630) 407-2400 or texting 274637 with the message SHERIFF followed by the tip. A $5,000 reward is reportedly being offered by the Illinois Crime Commission for anyone who can help identify and locate Baby Hope’s parents.