BOLINGBROOK – Nearly six months after baby Mya Edwards was discovered starved to death, the 7-month-old's body was laid to rest Thursday at Evergreen Cemetery in Barrington.
Barrington police and fire department personnel, who originally responded to a 911 call for the deceased in the 100 block of S. Hager Ave., Barrington, in January, led the morning's funeral procession to and from St. Anne Church. An area charity, Rest in His Arms, arranged the affair with the help of the Cook County Medical Examiner's office and Glueckert funeral services of Arlington Heights.
Rest in His Arms founder Susan Walker, who said the charity was unable to contact Edwards' parents, arranged for the baby to be buried in a donated plot. Members of the baby's extended family were present at the funeral, Walker said.
Baby Mya's parents, Bolingbrook residents Gene Edwards, 22 and Markisha Jones, 19, who were staying in Barrington at the time of death, have pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment.
Officials found a surviving twin sister in critical condition in the home Jan. 8. The twin is now in foster care, according to DCFS.
Prosecutors said the babies had been kept in the basement for long periods of time and fed only bottled filled with water, cereal and baby food. The parents will next appear in court Sept. 8.
Edwards' death struck the charity as being especially tragic because it was "so preventable," Walker said.
"It didn't have to happen," Walker said. "It was such a senseless tragedy."
Dozens of community members and about 30 public safety officers attended Edwards' funeral.
Walker said she was glad to see such support.
"I think it was a good way to give closure to the first responders," Walker said. "The music and scripture was lovely."
Chicago deacon Jim Pauwels spoke at the service. Pauwels said the death was emotional for the community because "there should have been life, growth and promise" for Edwards.
"We must make the state Safe Haven law better known," Pauwels said. "If in need, parents can leave babies with police with no questions asked."
Pauwels urged community members not to be judgmental and instead donate to social service agencies who feed the hungry every day. The Fresh Flower Market of Barrington donated flowers for the service.