April 2, 2000 a newborn infant was found by two fisherman deceased and abandoned on a boat ramp at Spring Lake in Pyramid State Park, later named Baby Sarah. Her body and the placenta was wrapped in a dark green Wal-Mart towel, a used, clean baby blanket with baby bears and small flowers, and another blanket with balloons and carousel horses. The carousel blanket was made from a Wal-Mart kit and was unfinished. She was then wrapped in a yellow plastic bag from 710 Bookstore in Carbondale.
The baby was not placed in the water as if the person who placed her there wanted Baby Sarah to be found.
Later tests showed that she had been in the mother’s womb for about thirty-six weeks. She was AB positive. Her mother would have been type A, B or AB. Authorities believe the mother’s delivery would have been quick and painful with heavy blood loss.
The Southern news said “ There was air in the baby's lungs and officials said they think the infant was born alive. There was some bruising around the baby's mouth that authorities said at inquest could indicate smothering.” The cause of death was ruled undetermined. There was no confirmation she was smothered, but they do believe she took at least one breath before she died. They believe the mother was not alone at the time baby Sarah was born.
There are no leads according to the Perry County Sheriff’s Office. There is a $5,000 reward.
Funds donated for Baby Sarah were used to create a memorial at the Pinckneyville City Park. The Southern news reported that the playground project “cost about $46,000, and it began when the community poured its donations into the sheriff's department to fund a burial for Baby Sarah. Local businesses donated the services and other things needed for the funeral and a headstone at Mueller Hill Cemetery. That's when Kellerman and his department decided to funnel the public donations - $2,716 - toward the much-needed playground equipment for the park. The Pinckneyville Chamber of Commerce continued the fund drive and individuals, organizations and businesses raised the rest of the $46,000.”
Anyone with information about the Baby Sarah case should call the Perry County Sheriff's Department at 357-5212.
There is an organization named the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation that raises awareness in regard to the Illinois Safe Have Law, which allows a parent to drop off an unharmed baby up to thirty days old at a hospital, police or fire department with no questions asked. This Foundation lobbied to pass the law and has been in effect since 2001
Baby Sarah is buried near the back of the Mueller Hill Cemetery