Found April 11, 1999 on the banks of the Ohio River at Neville Island, Allegheny County.
On April 11, 1999, two employees of a Neville Island manufacturing plant, working the 3-11 shift, were making their usual security check of the property when they spotted buzzards flying overhead near the river's edge. Walking down a rutted path, they saw the body of a baby boy, with part of the umbilical cord still attached, caught up in the rocks & twigs, in just inches of water, off to the side of an old boat ramp. Law Enforcement investigators believe that the child was thrown into the river further upstream and he floated to where he was found.
For two months, the Allegheny County Coroner's Office tried to elicit what the boy's tiny 7lb. body might tell them. There were no signs of birth defects and no evidence of trauma. It is possible he died from exposure, but his cause of death was ultimately undetermined. It is believed he was caucasian but because determining race in newborns is often difficult, his heritage also remains unknown.
Rev. Edward M. Bryce at St. Bede's Roman Catholic Church in Point Breeze, hearing the story of the unknown infant, offered to bury the boy if no one else came forward. When no one did, Rev. Bryce named the boy Bede, after his parish's patron saint "The Venerable Bede", patron saint of history, scholars and historians.
On June 16, 1999, about 100 people gathered for Baby Bede's funeral, starting with a service at St Bede's Church and ending at a narrow grave in the children's plot at Calvary Cemetery.
Among the songs sung by the mourners were these lines from Desiderata: "You are a child of the universe, You are no less than the trees, and the stars..."
If you have any information about this case, please contact:
Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office 412-350-4800