California Catholic Daily exclusive

By Tom Davis

It took two years, but an infant left dead and abandoned inside a restroom at a Palm Springs hospital has finally been laid to rest.

On Thursday, July 27, Baby Girl Rose Herrera-Cornejo was buried at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Cemetery in Colton, while prayers were offered and baby pink roses fell on the small casket. The name “ROSE” was engraved on the casket lid.

On June 3, 2015 a nurse at Desert Hospital in Palm Springs entered the bathroom by the emergency room and found the baby girl abandoned in the toilet. The Riverside County Coroner came to take the baby’s body. On autopsy, she weighed 2 pounds, 7 ounces and was said to be about 29-30 weeks gestation. The coroner reported that he was unable to determine the cause of death.

Several days later a woman came to the same hospital with some bleeding problems. Given that it appeared she had recently given birth, the doctors asked if the abandoned baby was hers, which she admitted. Palm Springs police investigated and concluded there was no crime, but refused to release records of the investigation.

A local Catholic citizen offered to assist with final disposition of the baby’s remains if the mother would not claim the baby’s body. Two years later, Riverside County authorities released the unclaimed body.

The Catholic citizen, who asked not to be identified, said great gratitude must be expressed to San Bernardino Bishop Gerald Barnes, Deacon John, the staff at Our Lady Queen of Peace Cemetery, and to Rose Mortuary of Palm Desert. The diocese did not charge for services. They presented a beautiful marble cross, part of which was placed in Baby Rose’s casket.

A prayer card said, “Pray for mothers and fathers in our community that they be strengthened and not turn against or abandon their own child.”