The initial call came from a trucker, who reported seeing an adult's body in the river that early December morning, 25 years ago.
Responding deputies found something far more disturbing in the murky waters of the Escatawpa.
"And there they came across the baby's body. Like I say, they really weren't looking for a baby, they were looking for an adult and found a baby," recalled deputy Virgil Moore.
The pretty little girl, between 18 months and two years old, was never identified. Investigators determined she died a brutal death and was tossed off the interstate bridge, into the river.
"From what I recall of the autopsy, I saw on there the baby had been smothered and thrown overboard. But the baby still had a breath of life because she had sucked in some of the murky water into her lungs," said Moore.
The unidentified toddler is buried in Jackson County Memorial Park. Deputy Moore and his wife stepped forward and made sure the little girl was given a proper funeral and burial in 1982.
"She just became so close to us during the funeral and the time we were investigating this and all. And I have a picture of her that will hang in my living room as long as I'm alive. It's just like my own daughter, a beautiful baby."
Paul Murphy was a reserve deputy who was on duty at the time the child's body was recovered from the river. He clings to the hope that questions may one day be answered.
"She belongs to somebody. And if she's not remembered, it's not going to be put out anymore. It's just, time is going to pass on by. And this way here, if we keep her in the light, somebody may just come forward," says Murphy.
The memorial service for the still unidentified child will be held tomorrow at Bethel Assembly Church on Martin Street in Pascagoula. Some 200 people attended the young girl's funeral in that same church, 25 years ago.
"There had to be relatives of this baby. And this baby came up missing. You know, grand parents, uncles, aunts, cousins. Somebody." said Moore.
The memorial service for the child will be held at three o'clock Saturday afternoon at Bethel Assembly Church on Martin Street in Pascagoula.
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