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Mourners of baby left in duffel bag urged to fight child abuse, neglect

Baby Noel receives headstone for his grave two years after burial

SAN ANTONIO – A baby found dead in a duffel bag at an East Side recycling plant in 2013 is finally resting under a headstone.

Mourners gathered at Chapel Hill Memorial Park to pay their respects to Baby Noel who was buried more than two years ago. His death, however, was not the only tragic circumstance that brought them together.

For two years, Baby Noel has lain in the cemetery with only a simple marker to show his final resting spot. The woman who took on his burial, Pamela Allen, gathered enough money to bury him but told the people gathered at the grave Wednesday that there hadn't had enough originally to pay for a headstone.

As it turned out they wouldn't need the money.

One of the women in attendance, Cara Nichols, had chanced upon a headstone in her yard while removing an old deck from her yard earlier this year. While she had offered the stone to Allen to use for Baby Noel's grave, it wasn't the marker that lay there Wednesday.

Instead, the story of her generosity prompted a generous act by Robert Cortez. He decided to give Baby Noel a newer stone and an engraving.

"It just called out to me. I have no answer," he said of his decision.

But neither the day nor the graveside ceremony was just about Baby Noel. It became a reminder that there are many other children with tragic stories.

"There are children suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect," Pastor Jimmy Robles said to the gathered mourners.

Indeed, less than two miles from Baby Noel's grave is the home where BCSO deputies found two children chained and tied in a yard just weeks ago Also, a year ago that day Baby Christian had been found dead by the side of the road.

"But it is so connected because it comes back to these babies who did not have a voice," Allen said.

Pastor Robles urged the mourners to use their voices, saying "We need to be bold, and we need to be able to speak up, stand and speak when we hear a cry."

With that in mind the gathered mourners released balloons into the sky, hoping they would not have to say goodbye to a child gone before its time again.


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