8 THE QUEENS COURIER • APRIL 26, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
In Astoria, a somber farewell to a baby that mourners never met
BY RYAN KELLEY
firstname.lastname@example.org / @R_Kelley6
Th e silence weighed heavy in the air
as nearly 100 police offi cers and dozens
of local residents stood in front of Most
Precious Blood Church in Astoria on
April 21 and watched the rear door of the
Inside, the all-white casket was the size
of a large shoebox — so small that it had
to be placed on a platform to be carried
into the church. Th e four pall bearers,
each of whom are offi cers from the 114th
Precinct, never met the child.
In fact, no one attending the funeral
Th e baby boy being laid to rest that day
was found dead in a garbage can at Dutch
Kills Playground on Feb. 17, and since that
time, no family member came forward to
claim the child. Th anks to the eff orts of the
NYPD and the AMT Children of Hope
Foundation — which covered the cost of
the funeral — the boy gained a spiritual
family during the funeral procession and
hour-long mass that brought people from
the local community and across the borough
together in mourning.
“Th is is his family, right here in this
church,” said Bishop Raymond Chappetto
during the service. “His family has surrounded
him today with love, with prayer,
and with the promise that the community
will treasure his memory.”
Now known as Dutch James Hope,
the boy is only believed to have been a
few weeks old at the time of his death.
According to Timothy Jaccard, a paramedic
for the Nassau County Police
Department and founder of the AMT
Children of Hope Foundation, the local
community named the baby aft er the
playground where he was found.
“Hope” is the last name given to all of
the babies that Jaccard’s foundation has
laid to rest at Holy Rood Cemetery in
Westbury, New York, and Dutch James
was the 139th, Jaccard said.
In nearly two decades since the foundation
was formed, however, it has saved
the lives of 3,669 babies, Jaccard said. His
passion for this cause arose during 1998
and 1999, when Jaccard responded to four
calls regarding babies found not breathing
in a matter of weeks.
He also wrote the Abandoned Infant
Protection Act to save the lives of unwanted
newborns; the act was ultimately
approved by the state legislature and
became law. First enacted in 2000, the law
was amended in 2010 to ensure that parents
who abandon their infant in a safe
NYPD offi cers carry the casket of baby who was found dead in a garbage can for the funeral service at Most Precious Blood Church in Astoria on April 21.
way as prescribed by law will not be held
In 2017, the foundation helped save
the lives of 26 babies, and four have been
saved in 2018 so far.
“With the news coverage when we have
these funerals, we have some woman
call in desperation aft er seeing it, and
that winds up actually rescuing a baby,”
Jaccard said. “All 139 babies that we have
buried have rescued at least one child.”
During the Mass, parish member
Martha Caraballo helped carry the
Eucharist to the priest, and refl ected aft erward
on how much diff erent this felt than
any other mass and the impact it had on
“Th e circumstances under which it
happened and everything, and in our
neighborhood, it’s a lot more touching,”
Caraballo said. “It just shows a real good
unity within the community that something
like this brings us together.”
Even those who attended from other
parts of the borough felt the same sentiment.
Michael Naumowicz, a member of
the 104th Precinct Civilian Observation
Patrol covering Ridgewood and surrounding
shedding a tear when he fi rst heard the
news about the child back in February.
His reaction to seeing so many people
come to honor Dutch James Hope showed
just how fi tting that last name is.
“Seeing the community come together
as it did today, it actually gives me a lot
of hope that there is a lot of good in the
Photo by Ryan Kelley/THE COURIER
world,” Naumowicz said. “It’s just a great
Police continue to search for Dutch
James’ mother; they are off ering up to a
$2,500 reward for any information that
could help the investigation. Call Crime
Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS with any information;
all calls are kept confi dential.
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