Tribute to Jane

Gravestone placed at burial site of unidentified baby


Published: Friday, January 14, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 13, 2005 at 10:32 p.m.
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Al Tomes places a statue, which served as the original grave marker for Baby Jane, over a new granite marker laid Thursday during a memorial service at Evergreen Cemetary for the infant girl who was found floating in a pond near State Road 121 more than a year ago. Tomes, who found the baby, says he blows kisses at the site he found her "10 times a day."

ROB C. WITZEL/The Gainesville Sun
On a warm January afternoon, the sun peeked from behind clouds to set a baby's grave aglow.
Almost 18 months since Baby Jane's burial, eight people gathered around a small patch of earth Thursday to remember a baby with no name.
A private ceremony was held at Evergreen Cemetery to lay a 400-pound granite gravestone over the unmarked grave.
"We thought it was important to complete the burial process," the Rev. Lynwood Walters said after offering a prayer.
Inscribed on the marker are two angels and the date when Baby Jane's body was discovered floating in a pond in northwest Alachua County. Excerpts from poems and prayers, including those from a note written by the man who found the dead baby, also are inscribed on the marker. An area has been left blank to one day inscribe her name.
"That way it'd be proper to put her real name on there and not her victim's name that the state gave her," said Paul Anderson of Milam Funeral Home.
The grave was not marked earlier because it was hoped someone would come forward and identify the baby, Anderson said.
On Aug. 20, 2003, Baby Jane's decomposed body was found floating face down in a former catfish pond off a dirt road. Deputies believe she was about 2 weeks old when she died, but she may have been as old as five months. Autopsy results indicated she was 22 inches long and had dark hair. It is believed she was in the pond from 36 to 48 hours before she was found. The cause of death is still unknown.
On Jan. 7 the Alachua County Sheriff's Office announced that DNA results identified Baby Jane's race as African-American and Caribbean descent.
Detectives combed more than 600 birth records from Alachua and neighboring counties for the months preceding the discovery of Baby Jane's body. After months of interviews, detectives whittled that number down to about 50, but after the discovery of her race, possible identities have been reduced to eight, officials said.
The O.T. Davis Monument Co. donated the marker, and Derrick McClain carved the inscription. Davis' daughter, Lorrie Jones, drew the angels inscribed at the top.
Pam Gamley, of the Evergreen Cemetery, said, "A lot of people come out and ask, 'Where's the baby's grave?' It's a testament to how people in this community feel about this baby."
At the head of Baby Jane's grave is a small statue of an angel with a note signed simply Kathy: "Some people come and go in our life and are quickly forgotten. Some leave tiny footprints in our hearts that will stay forever. I will never forget you."
Al Tomes, the man who found Baby Jane's body on his property, held back tears as he stood silently by her grave.
"It's strange for a man who never had kids. It hits hard," he said. "Every day I (have) to go by the spot where we found her. Every day I blow her a kiss."

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