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 (http://bit.ly/nN6Z4H). 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.
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