RED WING, Minn. (AP) — An infant girl whose body was found recently in the Mississippi River may soon find her final resting place near three other babies discarded in the same way.

Jeanne and Don Madtson donated space in their family plot in Red Wing’s Oakwood Cemetery for the first three babies, whose bodies were found in 1999, 2004 and 2007. Their names are etched on a single stone: Jamie, Corey and Abby.

The Madtsons say they are willing to do the same for the fourth child. The 7-pound girl was found in the river Monday just south of Winona, sealed in a plastic bag.

“I don’t want them to just bury her and not have anybody around her,” Jeanne Madtson told the St. Paul Pioneer Press ( Whether that means making more room at the family plot or finding a space somewhere in Winona, so be it, she said.

Investigators have no leads in any of the cases and are asking for the public’s help in figuring out how the children ended up in the river.

Each discovery has stirred memories for the Madtsons of their own daughter, stillborn in 1989. Jeanne Madtson remembers the anguish of seeing her child for the last time at the funeral home.

“I held her for over an hour, and then it was time. I laid her in a casket, and then they closed it. And that was it,” she said. “I can’t believe the mothers of these four children will be able to live with themselves. I can’t imagine living with the fact that I threw a baby in the water and then go on with life.”

“To have a child by themselves, it’s a hard one. I just don’t want them to be alone, I guess, is probably the whole thing,” Jeanne Madtson said.

Madtson has not talked to the sheriff’s office in Winona County, where the baby girl was found, but has asked investigators in Goodhue County, where the other three babies turned up, to pass along her name and phone number when the time comes for burial.

Burying the children — naming them, even — is Madtson’s way of showing the children that they are loved.

“I think everyone deserves a proper burial,” she said.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (9)
  1. Victim mentality says:

    Thank you.

  2. Sara says:

    Such a sad story. Thank you to the Madtsons.

  3. JackieM says:

    Such a nice thing for them to do. Sad it has to be done…

  4. Missy says:

    Thank goodness there are kind, wonderful people still out there! I have my doubts many days but after reading this story, I feel a sense of hope. Thank you to the Madtson family!

  5. Andrea says:

    Thank you Madtson family.Seriously, there are so many couples who are waiting to have a child who cannot and we have all of these babies who are murdered and abused. How can we get these people to drop the child off at the hospital??? Or just drop it off at my house…

  6. EJE says:

    What a very sad and short life for these sweet babies. Thank you to the Madtsons- you are a very special and loving family.

  7. shannon says:

    Such a selfless gift and a way to give these children some dignity

  8. Judy says:

    A wonderful gesture by this caring couple.

  9. karibdis says:

    until liberal minnesota gets tough on welfare there will be plenty more where that came from. sorry.

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