Alabama Couple With 14 Kids Wants to Adopt, Bury Baby Doe Found in Toilet

Barry Hedblom and his wife, Judith St. Onge, have seven children of their own and have adopted eight, including one who died of cerebral palsy.

Now they want to adopt one more, but not to join their youthful household chorus. This child is known as Baby Doe, a newborn found dead Sept. 1 in a toilet at a convenience store. They want to give the infant girl a name and a proper burial.

"We would give her our family's name, put a marker on her grave," Hedblom told the Montgomery Advertiser in a story Wednesday. "It would just be proof that she lived, if you could call it that."

A woman who went in to use the restroom at a Gas Depot found the baby when she lifted the tank lid to see why the toilet wouldn't flush. An autopsy showed the girl was born alive and then drowned. Police said the girl was born in the restroom.

"That's so callous," said Hedblom, who is 72 and retired from a career working with abused children. "She had to lift the tank cover and put that little girl's body in there."

Hedblom and St. Onge, 59, along with the seven children of their own have seven adopted children — Barry, 18; Leah, 17; Heidi, 16; Devery, 14; Devon, 12; Jaya, 10; and Genna, 9. The eighth adoptee, Emily, died of cerebral palsy in 2001 at age 12.

Hedblom said he learned about the dead baby in a newspaper article.

"I just got tears in my eyes," he said. "I thought, 'No human being should have that kind of demise."'

Lt. Keith Barnett, a Montgomery homicide detective, said the baby's remains are being held at the state medical examiner's office.

She will eventually be buried in a pauper's grave if police do not find the mother or extended family. The time will be determined in part by when officers find and arrest the mother, who is facing capital murder charges.

"We're still working on it, chasing leads," Barnett said. "No one wants to solve this case more than we do."

Hedblom said he and his family don't care if they ever see the baby's body.

Practicing Catholics, they would also like to have her baptized.

Hedblom said despite the pain of losing one of his own children, Emily's death did not influence his decision to try to adopt Baby Doe.

"Emily passed in a hospital, clean, comfortable and with love," he said. "There is no comparison. This child never had a chance."