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Funeral held for dead newborn found in Lawrence

Ron Kahl, executive director of AMT Children of

Ron Kahl, executive director of AMT Children of Hope Foundation, and Erik Fischer carry the casket of Denise Hope. (Nov. 9, 2013) Credit: Howard Schnapp

More than 100 people stood outside a Hewlett church Saturday to say farewell to an unwanted newborn who was found dead last month.

Pallbearers carried the small white casket, a bouquet of yellow flowers on top, into St. Joseph's Catholic Church.

"The little angel needs a dignified burial," said Diane Fairben, 62, of Floral Park, who attended the service. "This baby had a tough life, as short as it was. I don't understand how you can discard a child."

Nassau police are investigating the case as a homicide after the baby -- later given the name Denise Hope -- was discovered Oct. 22 in a garbage bag at a Lawrence sanitation facility.

The Wantagh-based AMT Children of Hope Foundation, founded by police paramedics, made the arrangements for the funeral and burial that followed at Holy Rood Cemetery in Westbury.

Ron Kahl, the group's executive director, said young women about to give birth sometimes get anxious, "and they don't think there is any help, but there is."

The Rev. Thomas Moriarty, who presided over the service, urged people not to pass judgment on the mother of the dead baby or her family.

"We don't know the impact this child would have had in this world . . . we don't know what talents or abilities, which brings up tears and broken hearts," he said. "The good news is this is not the end. This child is with the Lord."

The state's Safe Haven law allows a mother to anonymously drop off an unwanted newborn at designated sites, such as hospitals and fire stations.

"It's a shame," said George Carolan, 73, of New Hyde Park, who also attended the service. "There is no reason today to abandon a baby."

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