The Oak Ridge Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying a newborn boy found dead along the Melton Lake Greenway in March.
The newborn’s body was found Thursday, March 26, Investigators continue to ask for tips and information that could identify him.
The Oak Ridge Police Department has named the baby boy “Wyatt,” which means “little warrior,” according to a press release from the City of Oak Ridge.
On Thursday, April 2, ORPD officers and the Oak Ridge Fire Department gathered to set up a memorial in baby Wyatt’s name near the parking area on Melton Lake at Edgemoor Road, the press release said.
“The community has come together to honor Wyatt and give this infant a funeral and proper burial,” the press release said. The wreath was donated by Mott’s Floral, and the teddy bear was donated by the community.
Members of the public have offered to cover the cost of services to lay the baby boy to rest, the press release said.
“We want to give this newborn a proper burial and we can’t do that until he’s identified,” Oak Ridge Police Chief Robin Smith said. “We know he belongs to us, he’s one of our children, so we want to make sure we’re doing our part to identify him. We’re hoping that someone in the community has information that will help us identify Wyatt and figure out who his family is and where he came from.”
Baby Wyatt needs to be identified before his soul can rest, the press release said. If you have any information regarding what may have happened in the moments leading up to his death and discovery, you can contact the Oak Ridge Police Department by phone at (865) 425-4399, by email at [email protected], on Facebook at OakRidgePoliceDepartment, on Twitter at OakRidgePolice, or at the Oak Ridge Police Department website at http://oakridgetn.gov/department/ORPD/Home. Information can be given anonymously.
If you are dealing with a hidden or unintended pregnancy, there are options, the press release said. You may surrender your newborn baby, up to three days old, to a staff member at a hospital, birthing center, police station, fire station, or EMS facility.
The Tennessee Safe Haven law allows mothers of newborns to surrender unharmed babies to designated facilities within 72 hours of birth without fear of being prosecuted. As long as the baby is unharmed and the child is surrendered within 72 hours of birth, the mother—or parents—will not be prosecuted and is assured of complete confidentiality.
Once a baby is surrendered, it will be examined and taken to a hospital. When the baby is released from the hospital, the local Department of Children’s Services (DCS) office will find an adoptive family for the baby. The baby may be placed in foster care until the adoption process begins.
The law was enacted in 2001 to reduce the number of unsafe abandonment of babies. Call the Secret Safe Place for Newborns of Tennessee Help Line at 1-866-699-SAFE if you need help or have any questions.
“And again, contact the Oak Ridge Police Department if you know anything about baby Wyatt,” the press release said. “You may remain anonymous.”
See a Facebook Live video from the memorial dedication on Thursday, April 2, here.