by KHALANI GARAY
In August 1999, a woman named Elissa Davey read an article about an infant that had been found deceased in a dumpster located in Chula Vista, California. Most people would have forgotten about that article, but Davey did not. Nearly a month after reading the article, Davey called the county coroner’s office and asked what had happened to that baby.
“The baby is still here and if no one claims him, he will go to an unmarked grave in Mt. Hope Cemetery.” He explained.
She then asked how she could claim the baby even if it is not yours and the coroner responded with, “Show me you have a dignified place to put him.”
Because of this event, The Garden of Innocence was founded. The Garden of Innocence is a place where abandoned children get their chance at a proper burial, and they even receive a name. There are nearly ten gardens, however, more will be coming soon.
On October 29, 2016, eight Fresno County children who died without families received full burials. With each ceremony, each child receives a new set of brothers and sisters. On Saturday, these eight children were named, because no one cared to name them before. William, Oliver, Maisie, Brenna, Anthony-Jon, Paisley, Eli, and Arlen were the center of attention that day, and as they passed through the crowd of hundreds, an entire community, they became their only family.
Nearly four years since it has opened, more than eighty children are now buried in the Garden of Innocence. To some, it does not matter. To others, it is the most important place for the souls that never had a chance at life or something as simple as a family.